Cedros Abajo

The day had finally come where we would be visiting the small town of Cedros Abajo. This is the town where myself and seven colleagues spent one amazing week, volunteering, eating, laughing and enjoying the simple pleasures of life in a small farming town. Admittedly I was a bit nervous to return as I did not want to spoil the amazing memories that I hold of this place.

None the less after a ridiculously large breakfast – peanut butter and banana toast, and a plate-sized pancake Jorge insisted we both try – we set out for Cedros Abajo. We took a familiar path that whinds through the jungle between Cedros and Cedros Abajo. Going down hill that entire way was not the daunting walk I had remembered from February. I kept saying, the worst is yet to come, remembering the long walk from the kiosk to the town. No joke it is up hill both ways. Even this wasn’t as I had remembered it, the hills seemed to fall beneath our feet. I don’t know whether it was the excitement or that the last time I walked these hills was after a week of hard physical labour. Who could tell?

This week the communities have a week off from school, similar to march break. As we walked in there was not a soul in sight, but as we rounded the last bend I could see the home where we ate all our meals during our stay. We first went to the school and Jorge explained to us one of his ideas for the next project in Cedros Abajo. He wants to expand the kindergarten classroom and repair both roofs. As they stand they are both rotting with asbestos and ready to fall.

Shortly after a familiar lady poked her head into the yard. Shelia is the lead lady of the local women’s cooperative and was responsible for all of our meals during our stay. She greeted us with a big smile, letting us know she was happy to see us. We were invited to her house for some coffee and to wait while the word spread that we were there. One by one the kids of the community shyly walked up to the porch where we were sitting and sat down. At first they were very shy, and smiled and waved and quickly looked back to talk amongst each other. But once we announced that we had gifts and a game they were all ears.

They lined up and we handed out funky note books and school supplies to each one of them. All of them laughing and smiling as they looked at the illustrations of the front. After this we played a quick game of trivia to distribute the nine soccer jerseys that Pawel had brought for them. They were swimming in the shirts but they laughed and seemed happy. I supposed they will grow into them!

For the next bit we reined in our organizing skills from Los Patojos, and started a game of kick ball. The teams were clearly mismatched as it seemed all the best players were on the same team. The kids didn’t care though and just switched sides when ever they saw fit. At one point Pawel had only four players and I had nine. Next each one of them wanted us to draw a picture in their notebook, mostly horses but a few cats and one dog. The afternoon flew by as we quickly realized we had been there for four hours already. The farewell this time was much happier, we all hugged goodbye and walked off with the kids waving. Norman, both Kimberly and Manual thank you for your gifts!

The last stop was to the beloved kiosk where we had spent the most of our time working. Friends, it has come a long way and she looks beautiful! Jorge says that on the weekends the ladies make a stove/fire and sell tamales and other various goods. They are just waiting for a window and a door for the kiosk and it is fully completed. Apparently there is currently only one man who does the soldering and he is busy soldering elsewhere.

It was such a surreal experience to be back in the community. Though I am happy to have been back, it really wasn’t the same without all my favourite volunteers to share the experience with. Perhaps we will all have to return next year. Until then, enjoy the photos!

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