No amount of meetings, no amount of Spanish classes, no amount of team bonding activities could have prepared Team Mexico for this first week of adventure in Chiapas! From day one, our team has definitely been through many different kinds ofquests.”

Day one (Saturday, June 25th): a quest to eventually arrive in Mexico. After meeting three hours prior to our actual take off, we spent time together and tried to prepare ourselves for what was ahead. We came to a mutual agreement that it seemed impossible that the trip could already be at our finger tips! After a fast flight to Houston, a zippy train ride in the Houston Airport, and a flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez that seemed to last forever, we had finally landed in Mexico! We enjoyed a long bus ride to our dorms in San Cristobal (Albarrada) and got to see the beautiful Chiapas at night. We were very tired, but our excitement kept us up until we arrived at a place where we could get some shut eye.

Day two (June 26th): a quest to get to know Chiapas a little better. Seeing Chiapas in daylight was a lot better than trying to uncover its beauty at night. The wonderful kitchen staff in Albarrada made us a delightful (but certainly different) breakfast and then we hopped on our bus to go see the school in Bautista Grande for the first time! Very anxiously, we sat on the bus, ready to set eyes on the school at any minute… and thenthe bus stopped in the mid

dle of the road. Confused and slightly discouraged, we learned that our bus could not make it up the hill in front of us. We started walking, although the vast majority of us had no idea what our destination even looked like. About halfway there, or so we thought, we decided to start walking back to the bus to see if there was a better or faster way up. On our way back, we encountered half of our team piled into the back of a small, white, pickup truck: our way of transportation for the next couple days. After we all finally made it to the school, we shortly went back down the hill and then enjoyed a lovely lunch prepared for us by the Chiapas Rotary Club. We ended the night with shopping in San Cristobal. By the time we hit the sack, we were all grateful for our team leadersadvice in meetings beforehand to “plan on being flexible.”

Days three, four, and five (June 27th-29th): a quest to make a difference for the people of Bautista Grande. The first day we got to see the children at their school was not until Monday, and oh, how we had anticipated that! All crammed into the beds of little white trucks, we drove up to the school and found that we were welcomed by more than just the little kids. Having priorly prepared a short program for the kids for an opening ceremony, we expected that their festivities were for our arrival. After being thoroughly embarrassed, and questioned by every man with authority in the city, we realized that we had actually crashed their practice for their graduation that would be three days later. Luckily, they forgave us fast and we became friends with the kids in no time. Playing with them made us realize our real purpose here. We have all been telling our families and friends that we would be building a kitchen for a school here and providing them the chance to have a meal at school (although this is a very worthy cause and we are still working hard for it…), but now we see that our true purpose, and the most fulfilling thing we can do is build relationships with the people in this beautiful village.

Day six (June 30th): a quest in Chamula. Thursday, we watched our little amigos perform their adorable dances for the graduation celebration. Only having known them for a short time, we were still so proud to see them perform so well for the whole village. After we left, we decided that we were extremely bored without the kids. Shopping the night away in the city Chamula (the city inbetween San Cristobal and Bautista Grande) was fun, but nothing can compare to spending hours with those adorable, energetic kids at the school.

Day seven (July 1st): a quest of change. Our hard work on the kitchen had finally started to showwe have actually put a dent in this place! The kids are now finished with school, but, thank goodness, they still come to play at the basketball courts. Because school is out, the older kids also come to play, so now we have a chance to make even more friends! The kids want to play more and more every minute, so we never have a problem with staying busy at the school. Coming home from the school, we felt a lot better about our day because we spent more time with the kids. We had our de-briefing meeting where we talk about the days delights and disappointments, and then the party started! A fellow team member, Brad Rohbock, was teaching us some swing dance moves when the Italian teenagers that are rooming by us walked by, and we invited them in! (Something to know beforehand: Abigail Denison of Team Mexico had formerly seen said Italians walking around carelessly in the nude, so we all had a preconcieved judgment that they were kind oflet‘s just sayweirdos…) after we invited them in, we ended up showing them how we get down and boogey in the U.S. When the night was over, we were all mad at ourselves for not thinking more highly of them, for, we had found that indeed, we are all weirdos!

Day eight (July 2nd): a quest in the ruins! We took a long long bus ride to Tonina and got to see some beaut ful Mayan ruins. It was definitely a work out, but it made for loads of great photoops! The little place we stopped at for lunch was for sure a pleasure for our stomachs! Another long bus ride, some shopping and food similar to the food in the states ended our nights late, but on a great note!

This first week has been all we hoped for and definitely more! Appauled that we only have one week left, we promise to make the absolute best of it! Thank you for all the support you give to our team, we will make you proud! Vive en Mexico!! For now, Adios!

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