It’s not often that to step out of your front door means hundreds of steps a half mile up the mountainside, but such is the daily routine for the people of Majaguita. Our journey was the reverse as we stepped off of the Coaster (bus) and loaded ourselves with tools and supplies and headed down the mountain to the village. We learned that a fierce windstorm had whipped through the village only a couple weeks ago, pretty much finishing off the structure of the 5 greenhouses we thought we’d be working on, so our project has shifted to one of the suspension bridges and some concrete repair work on a fish pond. The bridge we are working on is around 275 feet long and stretches across the valley connecting one side of the village to the other and is one of two bridges in Majaguita that are vital to the area. Months of work by CMA students, and other groups have culminated in our team being able to lay the walk planks on the cable structure and see the bridge begin to take its final form.
We started the morning by carrying dozens of 4X4 timbers from the village, down the mountain several hundred yards to the edge of the water where we would be working. Then it was a stack of hundreds of treads that would be the walk surface that had to be moved and staged near our work area. The students did awesome, even considering the fact that the stack of lumber we were moving contained dozens of friendly tropical surprises like silver dollar sized cock roaches and a few wasp nests. We were also put to shame a little bit by a 62 year old man who jumped in to help us out, and while our most eager young students and leaders were carrying 3-4 boards at a time down the mountain, he would grab 7. He also, (on his insistence) backed a generator down the mountain by himself on one shoulder. We spent most of the morning moving material, and our students did great. It’s hardly possible to take in the beauty that surrounds you in each step, from the beautiful tropical flowers in vibrant shades of violet and red, to the bananas and melons hanging from trees and trellises, to the unique cabanas that line the side of the mountain path through Majaguita… At times it seemed more like a hike through the rain forrest with a heavy pack, only the pack was a giant stack of lumber.
We were treated to lunch back at CMA (Caribbean Mountain Academy), which always consists of some kind of fresh local fruit, and the biggest avocado slices you’ve ever seen. Then it was back to Majaguita for the construction to begin. We spent the afternoon getting into the rhythm of the process it will take to span the river and complete the work. Our girls had the opportunity to take a swim in the river with the CMA female students and had a great time sharing the refreshing experience together.
It’s fantastic to see our team of students really engage with the teenagers that are here at CMA. They’ve been quick to connect and are excited to lead the morning chapel time each morning starting tomorrow (July 2). After dinner we wrapped up the day by heading to a local ice cream parlor, and enjoyed taking in a little bit of the local scene on the plaza in front of the ice cream store. When we were approached by a couple of local kids asking for money, we entered into that awkward tension of not knowing how to respond (what was culturally appropriate, or what our host thought might be most wise); it was neat to see a couple of our students (Zeke and Jalen) spring into action, and with their own money line those boys up at the ice cream counter and buy them each a couple scoop dish of refreshing goodness. We wrapped the evening with worship and a time of sharing with our team out on the open air balcony of the Goshen house. Tomorrow we continue work in Majaguita on the bridge and mixing some concrete… it looks like the morning will begin with bringing a few more supplies down the mountain, including several 100lb. bags of cement… not a bad way to start a morning hike to a beautiful village.