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January 13, 2009: The Last Community Service Day

By Alicia Bjork, Marco LaNave, and Audra Whalberg

After breakfast, we went to a local park that some of us had already been working at for a couple of days. As was common over the previous few days, despite the various challenges of limited tools and other resources, we appreciated the opportunity to give our time and energy toward community service projects.

We cleared the paths of the park, depositing the brush in a mysterious location across the street. A few of us found some young coconut plants, and replanted them. We also dug up rocks to place along the sides of the path and destructed a decaying playground. The raw strength of Mike, Sam, and Mark was enough to wrestle several wooden posts (trees embedded in cement) out of the ground. A couple of us enjoyed the individual destruction of a swing and a set of wooden stairs. From the beginning of the trip, we had been warned about scorpions, snakes, and other jungle inhabitants. For at least a few of us, the thought alone of their existence presented a difficulty in working in the dense jungle. One of us not only saw a snake a few days ago, but also came in uncomfortable contact with a scorpion at the park.

Marco and Kari picking up leaves
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Audra laying down the rocks
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Emily found a treasure of huge rocks
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Before and after: THE AFTER park
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Upon our return, several of us wrapped up community service with work on one of the dunes near the beach. We picked up garbage and dead plants, raked leaves, and made the difficult transportation of the waste to the on-site compost pile. We completed the project just in time, as the overcast skies of the last day and a half turned into a rainy afternoon.

Those of us who worked on the dunes celebrated our completed project by patronizing the local Mexican/seafood establishment, La Cueva del Pescador (The Cave of the Fisherman).

To conclude the evening, many of us enjoyed playing some cards (including an intense game with Saudi Arabian origin), ate delicious self-made grilled cheese sandwiches, and watched a couple of episodes of “Seinfeld.�

We hope the clouds clear up and give us some sunshine in our final days in Akumal.