We split up into two work groups today. This posting is from the group with Mr. Heffernan, Peter LiVolsi, Matt Mullman, Edwin Ortiz, Thomas Tulp, and Kevin Cevasco. (The other group's post follows this one...)
We got up early and boarded a public bus headed to the poorer districts of Quito, higher up in the mountains. The bus ride was only $0.25 but traveling was like being on a roller coaster with a fearless driver who appeared not to have a brake pedal on the winding tight roads in the hills. When we arrived at around 8 a.m., the group split into those moving rocks and debris from two rooms that the family hoped to eventually reppair while the others were digging a trench in the area above the house to prevent flooding. The work was intense especially in the high altitude of Quito.
Shoveling and carrying rocks in five gallon paint buckets was hard on the back and hands, while shoveling the trench with Jose, one of the owners of the house we were working on, posed an equal challenge. First the group had to clear plants and weeds from the area before they could begin shoveling, and it took a little while for the rock-moving crews assembly line to get coordinated, but in the end both groups finished and enjoyed a wonderful meal (chicken, potatoes, and rice) from the family. The bus ride back was equally fear inducing on the precipitous slopes of Quito, but we arrived back at the center safely at around noon.
After some downtime and resting we attended mass at the local Church. The church was small but the altar was ornate, a surprising fact considering the poverty of the area and the congregation. Both entirely in Spanish, and a very different style by the priest represented a contrast to mass in the states. The 12 members of our group then managed to scarf down 10 pies of Dominos pizza at a shocking pace and are preparing to reflect and go on a tour of both centers tomorrow.
-Matt Mullman and Peter LiVolsi