Team Work

The team again boarded the “galloping mechanized stage coach” for the dusty, “trip over the rocky road (not the ice cream type) to San Rafael. Our counterpart San Rafael leader, Alex, and his local team were ready to start another productive day when we arrived at the community center. He assembled the entire integrated team on a circle of chairs and laid out the work plans for the day. He congratulated the team on all the good work accomplished so far and singled out Dick for the innovative “plastic washer” solution to an oversized hole in one of the junction boxes used in the power cable replacement project. Alex again demonstrated his superb leadership skills and qualities in organizing the tasks to be completed and in integrating the Global-San Rafael team – and it is truly a team! Before scrambling to the appointed tasks, the team performed some last minute clean-up of the center in anticipation of an important meeting with government representatives from San Jose.

Since the paint (promised for Wednesday) had still not arrived, half of the team was sent to continue distruction of the wooden bleachers and salvaging the reusable wood. Alan, Dick and Don completed connections for the new underground 220 volt power service and recovered the old ariel AWG 4 power cables for use in future projects. With little fanfare, Alex threw the switch at the street power connection box and voila! nothing (adverse) happened!! Sometimes nothing is better than something. Each of the circuit breakers in the center were actuated and found to work perfectly. We took advantage of the moment and marked the area controlled by each breaker on the circuit breaker panels (for future reference when all knowledgeable locals are no longer around). To comemorate the occasion, Alex asked each of the Global Team members to sign the back of one of the circuit breaker panel doors.

The power team then joined the bleacher distruction team until lunch time, adding to the decibel level of pounding hammers and screeching nails being pulled. The nails continued being saved for reuse and the wooden planks were separated into a reusable pile and a firewood pile, much like the biblical sheep from the goats. Through it all, Jean could be seen scurrying around under the bleachers, salvaging the fallen planks, carefully dodging the rain of falling wood.

Another marvelous lunch was provided for the team at Gisselle´s home, with rice, beans, fried green beans, fried cheese and a tomato and cabbage salad. Don tutored one of the local youth with his practice test problems on geometry and algegra, before joining the rest of the Global Team at the school for the scheduled afternoon English classes. Before going to their respective classrooms, all the students joined in with the Global Volunteers to sing “Darling Clelmentine” to the accompaniement of Don´s harmonica. There was markedly more participation by the students than yesterday. This introductory song will be repeated at the start of next week’s classes. The classes were divided into much the same groups as previous days with their assigned Global Volunteer instructors. As usual, some students did not return and other new ones showed up. Don´s adult class dropped to two students and he concentrated on prepositions of position and continued helping with English translations of the Spanish phrases requested by the “students”, emphasizing proper pronunciation. Dick brought his students over for a lesson on the names of barnyard animals, illustrated by Don´s imitations of the respective animal sounds. One of Jean´s students commented that Jean seemed to be learning more Spanish. Allan and Simone conducted a very interactive class session, with help from Alex. The material seemed to be very stimulating and fun for the students.

Return to the hotel in Santa Elena was delayed about 30 minutes while Nia, the team leader, received treatment at the local clinic for dehydration and stomach flu. After another dusty, bone-jarring trip back to the hotel and another tasty, nutritious dinner, the team discussed the events of the day and plans for tomorrow and next week. The team is feeling increasingly exhausted, but fulfilled, as the week´s activities are catching up on us all.

– Don

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