As I tenderly caressed each of the beautiful beads from the necklace, emotions within my heart welled up and burst within like the nightly fireworks that light up the skies of Disneyland every single night. The atmosphere had been ripe with the sounds of laughter, chatter, music, dancing, speeches. There even an impromptu gift of hand made gift of hand crafted beads to the volunteers who had spent 6 days building the new wing of the school; I was caught off guard when one of the village women also placed a necklace on me. That necklace would serve forever after as a reminder of the villagers gratitude to not only the volunteers who built the new classroom but me as well who came to teach english to them.
Of all the excursions I've done whether it would be canopy ziplining; piranha fishing; searching for poison dart frogs etc. I would have to say that my favorite excursion was one that Tahuayo Lodge doesn't offer on a regular basis. And that was my excursion to the inaugaration ceremony of the new wing of the school that had been completed by Be The Change Volunteers.
In 2013 when I first arrived here there was only one building that housed the school. There was only one teacher for all the grades who would have to go to one side of the room and teach primary school and cross to the other side of the school to teach secondary. In 2014 for first time ever, Be The Change Volunteers began getting involved with the people of Chino village and built their very first classroom of what is now the secondary school. The same organization would return the very next year to build another classroom. And this year in 2016 they returned to build a third classroom. So as you can imagine what a surprise for me to return 3 yrs after my first trip and find that Chino had gone from one building with one teacher to having a seperate building for primary and secondary and now had a principal and seperate teachers for all the grade levels.
I arrived at the village on Inauguration day with a boat filled with volunteers who were putting the finishing touches on the construction work that they had been working on for the last 5 days. Upon reaching the secondary school, all words in both english and spanish left me. Where one week ago there was nothing but a cement foundation, there were now walls and a roof and a fully fledged classroom that was almost ready to go. It is important to note that the foundation had actually be laid by an earlier group from the same organization who did the ground work so that this second group could come and finalize the construction work.