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Puerto Rico: Day 5

This morning, we woke up around 7:30 to eat our last breakfast at Camp Caribe! There was an assortment of cereals and fruits along with an option of oatmeal with cinnamon. I settled for some dry cereal and coffee.

After breakfast we made our way to the fire pit circle and started the day with morning prayer.

Father Jon led us in a meditation on verse 4 of Psalm 23. As we concluded, Carlos translated a text from Carmen who expressed her gratitude to all of us for the work we had done on her house this week.

Then, we went to work cleaning the dorms, doing our best to leave the camp better than we found it. First, we made sure all of our luggage was packed and loaded into the common area before we started to clean each individual room. In the girls room, Erin-Grace played the Pitch Perfect soundtrack to motivate us to pack and clean. Once our luggage was in the common area, we were put to work sweeping, wiping, and mopping. Kendall and I cleaned the toilets and mopped the bathroom and the hallway. Finally, we finished the cleaning process and packed our stuff into the vans and were on our way.

On the way to our new place of stay, we stopped at the Center for Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico. Danny and Mother Ana hosted us for sandwiches and chips and also supplied us with shirts, bags, notebooks, and certificates of recognition for the work we had done. After lunch, we got a tour of their food pantry and the retreat center they are building which will be able to host 40 people.

We also got to check out the new chapel they built after the 2017 hurricane. One of the priests there talked to us about the importance of our work and stressed the need for more help. I was moved by her hopeful tone — even though her country had been devastated by a hurricane and earthquake.

After a quick bathroom break we hopped back into the vans and drove to Centro Cappuccino, our home for the next two days. We were met by Brother Gabe and chose our roommates for the next two nights. I chose to room with Kathryn, Erin-Grace, and Haley! Once settled, we had some down time, and I relaxed in my bed after a physical week of work. At 5:00 we loaded back into the vans and drove to parque de la paz (the park of peace).

Colby was enthusiastic about his choice to bring us to his favorite Puerto Rican restaurant. In his words, we were about to have a “life changing meal”. After some yummy tacos in the park we ventured out to find some ice cream. Although unsuccessful at first, we broke into pairs and found a food truck with smoothies and ice cream. Benham, Tommy, Kathyrn and I went on the rocks on the beach after getting our desserts.

Then, we piled back into the vans to go night kayaking in a lagoon that had bioluminescence organisms! After about a 20 minute drive we arrived at the kayaking place and put on our life vests. We partnered off and kayaked the 1.5 mile to the lagoon through a tight channel.

Once we got to the lagoon, we lined up parallel and put a tarp over us to maximize the illumination of the glowing water. We looked kind of silly, but it was super cool to watch the water sparkle. Once we were finished splashing around, we started the 1.5 mile trek back to the site which was much harder since we were going against the current and it got a bit windy. Once we got back, we had water and snacks then got into the van to go back to the site. Unfortunately, Father Jon got a bit lost and we took a 30 minute detour from where we were supposed to be. Eventually we got back and took a shower because I smelled of the sulfur that was in the water. Then, I quickly passed out and went to bed from our exhausting adventure.

-Caroline Garrod