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After surviving their first week in community (and thriving, at that!), Session B volunteers are off to a great start this summer! They are all are busy leading campamentos (day camps) with the local kids, showing off their volleyball skills, working with the local volleyball team, and leading gender talks with the jovenes (youth) in their communities. It’s been a week of challenges, but also one of great successes and personal growth.

In each community that I visited this first week on route, I saw volunteers who were definitely a little out of their comfort zone but had already integrated themselves into their community and were having a great time exploring their surroundings with host siblings, learning how to cook local dishes, and playing LOTS of card games. I’m immensely proud of each of my volunteers for all of the work they have done this week and how they have each challenged themselves to grow as leaders, people, and Spanish-speakers. That being said, here’s some updates from my communities:

La Rubia: Ned, Jansi, and Marcela are working hard with community members to on their service project, which is to build a park out of recycled materials for the community. They’ve led lots of community meetings, met with leaders from Plan International, and are well on their way to finishing a very successful project. In their free time, they enjoy sitting outside their house shucking guandules with their host families, playing with the little kids, and going down to the river.

Los Montones: Mariko and Brianna are doing great and having a blast collaborating with all of the community members on their various projects. They’re currently working on finishing up the community center that AMIGOS and the community has been working on for three years(!), leading dynamic and educational campamentos, and practicing everyday with the volleyball team. They have a great team of youth that they’re working alongside and are doing a great job! They also love walking around the community and are looking forward to climbing a nearby mountain this week.

Barranca: Gracie and Lisbet are having a great time working in and exploring their community! They spend their days playing cards with their host families, swimming in the canal, and wandering through fields of mango trees along with doing a fantastic job leading campamentos, gender charlas (chats or discussions) and working on their service project, which is to renovate the volleyball court. They have integrated themselves so well into community life and are ready to for the last two weeks in community!

Guayabo: Trip and Andrew spend their days playing with all the local kids and host siblings, exploring the mountains, rivers, and footpaths that surround their community, and showing off their volleyball skills with the local volleyball team. They’re working hard with community leaders to finish up the brand new volleyball/basketball court in the community and took the day off on Friday to go explore the international market in nearby Elias Piña. They’re excited to see where these next two weeks take them!