Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A week in the life of a team member at Manuelito Project

I wrote this post for general info, and for anyone who will be visiting the project for the first time. Although our team was really well prepared before we left, there can be anxiety when facing the unknown so this is really to help eliminate one of the unknowns!

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can join a team in one of several ways: join a specialized team through WGM or Hope Teams, example VBS, construction, medical or go with a team from your own church/ family that is more general. We did the latter so that's what this post will cover, but if you are visiting the Project with another type of team you will still find some information useful.

Typically the project takes 2 teams per month, with a 1 week break in between each group. Standard size seems to be around 12 people. Given that the project receives so many teams through the year, often the planning for the work is done very close to the time of your trip. Unless you are in a specific work team (example, VBS) then the work your team does may be determined by the team before you. This means you may not know exactly what you are doing until the week before you go when planning is done and supplies purchased. The project does get a list of your skills (from your application) so that will be taken into account.

Installing a steel mesh covering over
a food storage room

We were told we had a certain amount of leeway with our activities, too. If we saw a need that we could work on, then we could do so as long as budget allowed. One example is building the footbridges: in the rainy season, ditches to the school and the soccer field make it difficult to get around, so we built a couple of small footbridges to get across.

Teams are housed for the week in a team building with one male and one female dorm. The dorms have bunk beds in one large room, and a bathroom with a few toilet cubicles and a couple of showers. The showers are mostly cold, although that might change as this is a very new building and we were only the fifth team to use it.

Arriving at the Project

Our group arrived on a Saturday, and the weekend is fairly typical with no school or work going on. We started off from the airport with a stop for food (American fast food) then traveled the 1-1/2 hours to Talanga by bus with the US missionaries, Justin and Ashley. After getting settled, we took a brief tour, had orientation, dinner then we had introductions from the kids in the dining hall.

Sunday is a day of rest and play. Church service is on site. We were asked to lead the service so we used a few hymns in Spanish from our missionary devotions book and one in English. A few of us gave testimonies and Rob gave a short message, all translated by Justin. They love music so they also had their own time of worship music.

Sunday on the project is a great day to hang out and play with the kids. They love soccer so it's a great ice breaker. We also had a game of kickball, and took out some crafts to the dining hall.

A game in the hall

Brayan teaches the girls another version of the 'cup song'
Monday through Thursday: Meals run at 8am, 12pm, 5pm. The teams eat first, then the children arrive for their meal. I think our first meal was the same as theirs but after that we had something different. School runs from 7am to 1pm so this was our time for work projects.  We usually worked until mid or late afternoon and since we were also painting the kitchen (which is used all day), some stayed up till late, painting after the kids went to bed.

Monday: Tour of the school

Tour of the school. Jer 29:11

The afternoons & early evening are a great time to spend with the kids. They have time for chores and homework and sometimes other activities like dance lessons, but there are always some around with free time.

Evenings: During the week, curfew is at 8pm so it's back to the dorms for devotions and time to relax. Or blog. Or look for bugs.

Friday:  A short day. Work or visit the local town/ hill depending on the schedule. After lunch we left for Tegucigalpa, after a trip to Valle de Angeles. In Teguc, we stayed at the WGM guesthouse (hot showers!!), took a tour of the city by mini-bus (too unsafe to walk), ate at a safe restaurant (armed security and cameras) and wound down before our flight on Saturday.

If you are visiting for the first time, I hope you find this useful. We'd be happy to answer any questions, so feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact us.

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