July 28 – Surprise! Morning was the same as every other day.
One difference however is that there were no dives today because of safety concerns with nitrogen dissolving in our bodies. Instead, we went to the local high school to complete some beautification projects.
The school suffers from public vandalism, frequent trespassing, and dilapidating grounds. So in order to combate these hazards, Jesuit, along with a local service group, volunteered to assist in cleaning up to school, dissuading trespassers and restoring the property.
When we arrived, I was assigned to the flower bed team. Our job was to carry rocks from a nearby truck to construct a border around some newly planted vegetation, fill in with gravel, then cover that with more rocks. Overall, I believe my group did a fantastic job, building three whole areas, with everyone else’s great work.
Afterwards, Kim, the project manager, let me cut down some large weeds with a machete. So not only does this day count as my second service project in a foreign country, but also my second service project in a foreign country where I use a machete. (I went on the Nicaragua service trip last year)
Lastly, Luke Songy and I became determined to uproot the weeds littering the ground around our project in a little remaining time left. Never have I ever been so thankful for my deadlift capabilities because thickly grown weeds are insanely stubborn to pull out of the ground.
The service project went on for a solid two hours, and I was famished. We went out to a nice lunch to cool down.
Next, we went back to the cabins and got ready for our presentations.
The Mangoes’ presentation went off smoothly. The divemasters enjoyed it and liked our project. It was a definite relief to get it over and done with on the trip.
The final activity for the trip was a dinner at a nearby restaurant. I was quite delicious and fun to talk about the trip. We got to watch a photo montage made by the dive staff which featured all the fun we had during the week. We got to thank our dive staff, and the Mangoes got to personally thank Zoltan for his work with us.
Overall, the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I will definitely go on talking about it for years to come.