My day typically started at about 5:30 a.m. My roommate Rebecca and I would walk around and see if the monkeys were swinging in the trees, or we would journal to the sounds of the jungle, which was my favorite.
But this wasn’t a vacation — we were in Verde Sumaco to work and learn. The project for our expedition was paving a path to create safer travel to and from the village, especially for the kids who traveled to the schoolhouse at the center of the village.
Each day, we would separate into different groups, which always included people who lived in Verde Sumaco. One group was ferried to the other side of the Amazon River and would shovel sand into the boat and send it back down the river. Another group would then put the sand into buckets and run them up the steps into the village to the last group, who was helping mix and lay concrete for the pathway.
On the first day, I was in the river collecting sand. Initially, it felt like hard labor, but within 30 minutes of shoveling our group was dancing between boat loads and having a lot of fun! The second and third day I helped mix and lay concrete — let me tell you, it was super hot and the materials were really heavy! Still, we were singing and dancing, and practicing Spanish and English together, and I pretty quickly forgot about how tough it was.
But even with all the fun we had, I still came home at the end of every day feeling really sore.