Waking up at 7:20 am was a late start for Janeth and I. We had to hurry ourselves to La Cancha, as soon as possible, which meant skipping breakfast at home. Luckily, we saw Adela and Jazmine getting there at the same time as us –so we weren't the only ones that were running behind. Once at La Cancha, I did my usual errands: fill up both water bottles and grab snacks for my day. But, this time I at probably half of the pocketed snacks for breakfast. Then, my day officially started. Everyone, began pushing Eucalyptus leaves into piles on the side of the road. Once that was dones, the piles of brush were disposed by being set on fire. I watched the smoke and flames consume the air around me. I imagined that I was in the middle of a war zone, then a music video, then I came back to reality. There's something about the way a fire burns that becomes so mesmerizing.
Our day went on with mixing cement and using it to fill the drainage ditch. I wheel barrowed soil several times, gravel several more times, then the cement mixture countless times. The process seemed never-ending and the task was extremely challenging – grab the material, move the material up and down the hill, then dump the material, all without letting more than a little bit of the material spill out due to the bumpy cobble stone road that my wheel barrow was trying to make friends with. Not to mention, the chaotic surroundings of 20 other people moving swiftly, also trying to do their task as efficiently as possible. Buckets with water flew beside my head, a village of hungry wheel-barrows behind me, waited to be filled up, I tried not to get knocked out by the cement machine every time. Every second around me was productive chaos so I kept my grip tight on my determination. It wouldn't feel right if I didn't give 125% of myself and finish strong. I couldn't help but think of my dad. Imagining that he was beside me, cheering me on to be the best version of myself –thinking of all the words of wisdom he carved in my brain. "Fail to prepare means to prepare to fail," and, "A lot of people have the will to win but only a few have the will to train to win." I guess all those years of coaching football, my dad knows what hard work looks like. I've come to see more of my dad in myself. Growing up, I was always told that I look like my father, and now I see more of his character and knowledge passed on to me.
For over the past two years, my dad has been going through a lawsuit with his work. He had worked there for the past 32 years, loving his job as a truck driver/delivery man; gained all his medical and health benefits for him and his family. Unfortunately, he was injured through all his years of wear and tear on his body from his neck and shoulders to both wrists. UPS isn't wanting to claim the injuries, even though my dad mentioned the issues he was facing with his truck's seat and his body. Whether things have been going his way or not, my dad has kept strong spirits every single day. I am half way through this trip, and it has make me appreciate all my dad has sacrificed and continues to sacrifice for me and my family. I'm appreciating more and more of what my Ecuadorian family does for me, even if I sometimes don’t recognize or overlook that form of love. This trip has allowed me to recognize unfamiliar forms of love and I am grateful to experience such an opportunity.