We’ve made it to Ambato Boeni! After three flights and a five hour bus ride, we have officially made it to the place we will call home for the next couple of weeks. While we are here, we will be building a school dormitory, so girls can finish their education, giving them a better chance to alleviate poverty in their life.
When we first arrived, there were a number of scouts here to greet us and welcome us. For those who were here before, and made the promise to the people back in 2008, it was very emotional. There have been a lot of obstacles and challenges along the way, but when a scout gives his or her word, we hold to it. That’s why our slogan for this project is “On our honour, we promised”. So, coming back after everything, it was great to fulfill our promise; our promise to return and not forget who they are or what they deal with on a daily basis.
Ambato Boeni is everything and nothing like I imagined it would be. The poverty is astounding and always present. There seems to be no garbage collection, and instead everything gathers in the street. However, the people are happy. The children find us to be the most entertaining thing in town and flock to the work site to see us apply sunscreen, and want to talk to us every chance they get.
The work itself is difficult, especially in the heat. Focusing on the dormitory for the girls, we’ve started to work at 6 am (as soon as the sun is up), taking a long break at lunch (the hottest part of the day), and ending sometime in the afternoon to allow us time to get home and showered before the sun goes down (again…at 6 pm).
This week, we’re hoping to have the foundation completed. We’ve already dug the trenches, leveled them, and are now working on pouring the footings. Tomorrow we should start the courses of brick, and then fill it in with even more cement. After that, things should get easier. The cement is the most difficult because we have to mix it all by hand on the ground (well…shovel). We even have to make our own cement bricks, which is a very new experience for almost all of us.