Puerto Rico: Day 4

This morning, some of us started at 6:30 with a 30 minute run along the beach. After, we did circuits led by Father Jon and took a morning swim. The water was completely flat and the salt of the ocean allows for easy flotation. We did our morning prayers and ate breakfast before heading off to the work site.

Our worksite was at awoman named Señora Carmen’s house. We finished painting the gate and fence around her house as well as the porch guarding that we started the day before. Additionally, we painted her kitchen, family room, and adjacent hallway. We finished up by cleaning the cabinets and stove top in her kitchen. The kitchen looked almost new after our freshening up.

Señora Carmen was thrilled to have us. She provided us with pizza and sodas. We played music and she danced with us. During a break, many of us engaged in a dance party which brought joy to all those envolved.

As rain approached, we wrapped up our work at four pm before visiting apartment buildings that had become dismantled due to the earthquakes. As we stood in front of the buildings, Chris (our wonder voyage leader) spoke to us about the displacement of the 500 families that previously occupied those homes. We all stood in reflection as we pondered the effects of 500 families, about as many as there are in the Church of the Holy Comforter, losing their homes and livelihoods.

That night, as we swam, prayed, and played Gaga ball, we reflected not only on the joy of Señora Carmen for our presence and our work, but also on the one million people that were forced out of their homes. We also reflect on the two million that stayed, many elderly and stubborn. Personally, I reflect on the message Señora Carmen shared with me. She said that young people like me are going to bring life back to Puerto Rico. Her kind words promoted the hope she felt for her home. She believes in the youth and the future of Puerto Rico. That spirit and drive she shared with us radiated through her smile and her warm hugs, and I hope that each one of us will keep her in mind as we go forth and improve the world before us.

-Sumner Spence