Below are two items that show the list of volunteers/staff on base.  We could hold up to 86 people at a time.  There is also a vehicle checkout systems for the weekends when people like to take day trips. 

February 9 - March 7, 2020:  Martorell and Yabucoa, Puerto Rico

The next part of our adventure was to fly to Puerto Rico for two months.  Puerto Rico is 110 miles long and 35 miles wide with a population of 3.19 million people.

The first month we would spend in Martorell (town - population 2,254), Yabucoa (municipality - population 37,941), Puerto Rico volunteering with All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response providing hurricane relief.  The hurricanes were Maria and Irma which struck the island in 2017 and there is still a lot of destruction in parts of the island.

The second month we would spend in Rincon (population 6,641) vacationing and relaxing from all of our hard work with volunteering.

We left from Punta Gorda, Florida at 6:30am towards Fort Lauderdale (2 hour drive) for a 10:30am departure.  Although we started out in the dark, we saw a gorgeous sunrise.  This was Sunday, February 9, 2020.

Prior to departing from Florida, we had been added a WhatsApp chat group of other volunteers arriving on the same day as us.  So I had been communicating and coordinating our ride from the San Juan airport to the Volunteer Base in the town of Martorell where we would be living for the next month.  Once we all found each other at the airport, we hopped in the car with our driver Gerardo who provides rides for the base.  It was $80 one way and we had 5 people in the car.  Very glad we were able to coordinate with others so we could split the cost.  Thanks Cristina, Jonathan, and Dani!

As you can see in the pictures below, the roads are wide, heavily traveled, and in good condition.  We were expecting much worse because of the hurricanes and earthquakes that had been happening since December 2019.

As we left the city of San Juan and drove through the countryside, it was gorgeous!  Very lush, green, and tropical with rolling farm hills, cows, horses, and then tall rugged mountains.   What an awesome contrast and so pretty! 

On Sundays, the locals get dressed up in cowboy attire and ride their horses into town to socialize.  During our time in Puerto Rico, we frequently saw horses grazing free range or riders on their horse riding into or through town.  It was very cool.

Welcome to Martorell!  This town would be our home for the next 30 days.  The last picture is the main drag and had one small Colmado (grocery store), pizza parlor, bar, and laundry mat all within walking distance to the base.

We arrived at the Yabucoa Volunteer Base, completed paperwork, had a quick orientation, and then had the rest of the day to set up our bunks and get familiar with our surroundings. 

Below are pictures of the Volunteer Base, commonly referred to as Yabucoa Base.

Yabucoa Volunteer Base

Main entrance and main building. 

There are multiple areas to hang out.  On the right is the non smoking drinking area.  The stair lead up to the smoking and drinking area.

There are 4 bunk areas.  This is the "big room" bunk area which also had the kitchen and toilets.  Notice our work boots and hard hats that are kept outside the bunk area.

Big Room bunk area.

Women's bathroom, 2 toilets, 2 sinks. 

Men's bathroom had 1 toilet, 2 urinals, 2 sinks.

This is located in the big room and what we used in the middle of the night to go potty ; )

We also had 3 porta-poti and 2 bathrooms in the office.

This is the Pavilion attached to the main building.  It is where we eat, hang out, and have our mandatory meetings. 

Our bunks in the Big Room.  I am the 'fish' sheets, Craig is the 'diamond' sheets.  This was our first week, until people departed and we were able to add a little privacy and spread out.

This is the dining room just off the kitchen (Jonathan, Denise, and Matt).  Most people ate outside, this was were you would make your lunch the night before and store your personal food.

Notice the black plastic which separates the dining from the bunk area?

Lucas cooking a late night snack in the kitchen.  For dishes, you wash and clean up after yourself.  

This is the free area.  People leave and they put the stuff they don't want to take home here.  New people use stuff from this area.

Women's shower.  There were 2 stalls, 1 small 1 big.

Men's shower had 2 big stalls.  There was also 1 unisex shower in the office area.

This is the workout gym under the solar panels.

Water filtration system

Our bunk area after people left and we were able to spread out and add some side sheets for privacy.  We would pull down the mosquito netting at night to help keep the bugs out, which...were not as bad as we had expected.  Craig got lucky and had no upper bunk mate for 2 weeks.

Every Monday there is a group 7:45am and 5pm meeting in the Pavilion.  This is because this is when the majority of the new volunteers arrive. 

 

The weekly morning meeting is when we review the work teams for the day and then the new volunteers stay for orientation while the existing volunteers divide into teams and do chores (clean vehicles, dump garbage, sweep/mop Big Room, clean and fill water coolers, etc.).  We then join our main work team and head out to the job site.

The nightly 5pm work meetings are to discuss how the day went, work for tomorrow (the *behind your name, indicates you are the driver of your team - Craig and I were both drivers), chores (rotate daily), base items, Palabra del Dias (word of the day), welcome new volunteers and say goodbye to those leaving. 

Below is a typical work day:

1.  6:00am alarm goes off (Craig gets up at 6:30am).  I gave myself extra time to avoid the long line in the bathroom and time to wake up.

2.  In women's bathroom, change clothes in the toilet stall, wash face in sink, brush teeth (usually multiple girls in there, so alternating between who spits in the sink - smile).

3.  Take items back to bunk (lights are still out til 7am), into kitchen grab coffee and cereal or yogurt for breakfast.  Take it to Pavilion to eat. 

4.  Back to bunk and grab work bag (gloves, ear plugs, etc).  Back into kitchen to grab the lunch you made the night before (found it was quicker and less people to make lunch night before and keep it in the fridge), put boots on, grab hard hat.

5.  7:45am go to your team's station and begin loading the truck with what is needed for the day: ladder, tools (hammers, chippers, drills), radio, rollers, blowers, brooms, power washer, 5 gallon buckets of sealant, cement, sanitation (sani) suits, etc.

6.  Team Leader (TL) and Assistant Team Leader (ATL) parking lot meeting.

7.  8:00am Load up and team departs the base.

8.  Arrive at job site and work until 4pm.  Take a few breaks and lunch.  Sometimes the work would extend past 4:00pm so we could finish a project.  Latest either of us worked was 6pm.  

9.  5:00pm mandatory work meeting.

10.  5:30-5:45pm dinner would arrive on the base (cooked by two local gals) Monday = chicken/rice/salad; Tuesday = tacos; Wednesday = beef/rice/salad; Thursday = pork or chicken/side dish/salad; Friday = pasta/salad; repeat with a few changes.

11.  Chores completed anytime after dinner or free time for those without Chores.

12.  Showers, we would usually shower between 6-9pm.  There was no way to take a shower in the morning because a few others were, lines were long and not enough time.

13.  9:00pm wind down hours.  10:00pm lights out and bedtime.  People could stay up on the rooftop balcony but had to be quiet.

Also, for dishes, the method is "dish in - dish out"  which means...

 

...if you use a fork and plate, you wash them, put in sanitation tub. 

 

Take a utensil and dish from sanitation tub and put on drying rack. 

 

You take utensil and dish from drying rack and put back on the shelf.

Of course, this does not mean that it happened that way.  The hardest thing we had to deal with was that people would not clean up after themselves.  Either of us would wash/dry/put away 4-20 pieces of dishes before going to bed and we would wake up the next morning to dishes scattered randomly around the base, a sink full of dishes, or the rack full of clean dishes but not put away.  These were done by people who stayed up late drinking, partying, games, etc. 

Below is the process and list of work that we did during our volunteering:

  • Prepping and repairing the roof

    • Powerwashing and chipping to expose cracks.  On a flat cement roof (about 12-20 feet off the ground), chip old concrete and sealant off.  Sometimes there are multiple layers or colors of sealant, and paint.  It could be 1/4" thick to 2" thick.  You can get if off with a 5 point chipper or other times we use a chisel and hammer or even an electric chisel tool.  This exposes the cracks in the concrete where the roof has been leaking inside the house and causing mold.  We then seal the cracks, with caulk or mix concrete by hand or a hand held mixer and then put the cement over the area.  Sometimes, we may chip the entire roof or other times, only 1/2 of it.

    •  If the roof is not totally flat and has areas where the water pools, we also mix concrete and fill the 'dip' so that water does not pool.

    • Drill out existing drains that are not functioning, this is usually because they are 1" above the cement roof and the water cannot escape.  So we drill out the existing hole which is 1" round, make it bigger to 3" round and at a lower slanted level.  We then cut the PVC pipe, mix cement that is thicker like putty and push/fill it around the pipe so it is a solid fit to fill in the hole.  Sometimes in this process, the parapet wall may get broken off or cracked so we mix cement and rebuild the parapet wall.  One house the other day we drilled/installed 7 drains.  If there is no cant to the roof (slope where parapet wall meets the roof so water does not pool), we mix concrete and create a cant.

 

  • Sealing the roof

    • Once all of the cracks are sealed, drains installed, cants, and concrete work is done, we then move onto prep for sealing.  The prep to seal is:

      • Power wash and scrape the loose or rough edges in the roof. 

      • Use brooms, blowers, heat guns, and shammy towels to dry the roof.  We may get a roof completely dry and then it rains, so you go sit out of the rain and....dry it all over again.  This could happen 1-3 times a day.  On one job after drying it twice, we called it and moved to help another team on a house that was chipping.  You cannot seal in the rain, but we can chip.

      • Seal the parapet walls and canted slope first, sometime 2 coats based upon how rough the concrete is.  The sealant needs to dry 45 minutes between the coats.

      • We then seal the roof and section if off into lanes so we do not get backed into a corner.  Usually we wait 1.5 hours before applying the 2nd coat on the roof.  

      • Also part of the prep on the roof is emptying cisterns, moving air conditioners, etc. and moving them so we can do all of this process under them.  Then we replace them again.

  • Sanitation (called Sani - this is cleaning and getting rid of the mold on the inside of the house)

    • The last process on the house is called Sani.  You go inside the house to the rooms that have mold and wrap everything tightly.  They then scrape, and put chemicals on the mold.  You are fully clothed in hazmat suits for this.  Craig did this one day, because of my heart and regulating my body temperature, I did not perform this step.  When the houses I worked on got to this last step, I moved to another team.

  • Two other people on my team did a demolition of an attached shed (wood and corrugated tin) and we took it to the dump

  • Craig and I are both drivers, so we have been driving our teams to the job site. 

  • I worked on our base twice.  One day was "chores" where I cleaned toilets, showers, kitchen, swept, mopped, sorted used sheets, towels, clothes between keep on base and donate.  The other day was painting exterior walls.

 

Craig on the other hand worked on base for two weeks and out in the field on houses one week.  Craig prefered to be on base.  I preferred to be out in the field.

  • The base we are all living is being rehabbed and given back to the community as a community center, so...the exterior/interior is getting a new paint job.  This entails scraping, power washing, caulking, sealing and painting.  A ton of work since we have 3 buildings inside and out.  Jim is one of the main leads at the base for this work and he loves Craig, so he puts Craig in charge of certain areas and leaves him alone knowing the job will get done well.

Below are pics from the 'daily morning depart the base for work" routine.  Loading up the truck and running the morning gauntlet to leave the base.  The team working on the base that day, walks to the end of the roadway with our base dog "Meatball", they have an inspirational quote, loud music playing, and slap the bed of the truck.  In turn, the truck cranks their music, hangs out the window hollering and we all high 5 each other.  Nice way to send off the teams for a day of work : )

These are pics from my first job site: 

Drying the roof off and preparing the seal.  The parapets have already been sealed.

Karen using a heat gun to dry the concrete that was added to seal the crack.  It needs to be 100% dry before it can be sealed

Marley and Mariel putting on the first coat of Henry's Sealant

Omar, Mariel, Karen, Alysse, and me waiting for the rain to stop.  Luckily we had a canopy to help keep the rain off us

Mariel, Marley, Karen, Florencio, and me.  Florencio would make us a virgin pina colada everyday.  YUM! 

Florencio and his wife made us lunch one day.  Chicken and Mofongo (fried plantain) DOUBLE YUM!!

We are sealing the roof today.  YEAH!  I accidentally wiped sealant above my lip and my team thought it was funny so they decided NOT to tell me.  Brats ; )  The middle picture is my version of a Jackson Pollock painting.  And...I was notorious for getting this pattern of sealant on my calves.  I would straddle the 5 gallon bucket, doh....

Marley, Shoshanna, Shaya, Karen, and Mariel taking our lunch break and waiting for the first coat of sealant to dry so we can do a second coat

Karen and I decided to relax even further while the sealant dried ; )

Below are pictures from the job site of Juan's home.  We had a pigeon that hung around us all day.  One of the days Juan made us hotdogs for lunch and he would give us candy and cookies.  Our team was Luke, John, Roberta, Denise, Agathe, and Josh.

Roberta, John, and I decided to have some fun with our Team Leader Luke.  We emptied the ear protector jar and stuck carrots in our ears and posted on the Yabucoa WhatsApps that we were out of PPE and improvised with carrots.  I think Luke (who is 19) was NOT...amused with us old farts.  At least not that he could show, he just rolled his eyes at us and shook his head.  Ya gotta have fun right? 

This is also the house we installed 7 drains and repaired/rebuilt the parapet wall with concrete.

Below is some of the work that Craig did around the base.  They scraped all of the buildings and painted them which was a lot of work.  He liked working on base because he could have a nice salad for lunch, I was jealous! I was assigned to work base one day, so I followed his lead on painting and the salad for lunch!

Below are a few pictures of Craig working out in the field at owner's homes and some of the animals he got to see ; )

This is Victor's house which was right down the street from base.  Meatball our adopted base dog, would follow us to the job site and chase the neighbors chickens and lizards and then sleep in the shade the rest of the day.  Victor would cook lunch for us each day and oh man...it was tasty!  Always rice with salad and then some kind of meat and...cupcakes one day ; )

Craig and I worked our last day of volunteering together on a roof.  And...this one had puppies and a kitten!  The kitten is one of the pack and the momma doggie carries her around by the scruff of her neck just like her puppies.  Craig had been working on this roof for a few days so I was glad I got to join his team and see, play, and feed our lunch to the puppies.  Prior to me being at the house, the papa dog caught an iguana and brought it for the mama and puppies to eat.  Craig actually got a video of it, but...I am NOT watching it or posting it on our site.  GROSS...but the puppies need to eat, so...circle of life.

We always had a nice variety of animals around to watch.  Below are some of the surrounding homes and...a cemetery!  I love the crematories in PR.

Below are a variety of pictures from around the base and our job sites.  The people in a heart circle (Craig on the right side) made it into one of the publications for All Hands and Hearts (AHAH).  My team and I sending a Valentine's wish.  Meatball our base dog and Craig and I chilling one evening.

Me chipping on a roof below and another team dressed up and ready for sani.

If you are thinking to yourself "Wow, all they have done is work.  I hope they got to relax and have fun also."  Well, we did have fun! 

From base there was a nice short but steep hike up to "The Rock".  We caught a few sunrises and sunsets from The Rock.  Although it was a short distance, holy cow, it was a steep 45 degrees!  And Meatball would join every hike and climb atop The Rock with all of us.

During our month on base, Craig and I celebrated Valentine's Day by going to a restaurant with Sid and Karen, watching the sunset and listening to some local musicians.  My dish below is mofongo stuffed with chicken.  Mofongo is fried plantains and was pretty tastey!

Then a few days later, Craig and I celebrated his birthday by going into Humacoa to see a movie, have dinner, and ice cream.  What a fun day and way to celebrate.

On Tuesday nights (and sometimes Thursday) after work Sisco (one of the AHAH Staff) would host Kareoke at the Pizzeria.  We attended once to see what the fuss was and it was fun but since neither of us drink, sing, or dance...we called it an early night and found other things to occupy our time with on Tuesday evenings.

Pics are: Coleman, James, Dugan, Lucas, Danielle, and Marley.

Craig hamming it up with Elizabeth and Dani

Of course there are times when our personal chores need to be taken care of....laundry.  The laundromat was open late on Wednesdays, so that was the Wednesday night ritual. 

Craig, Elizabeth, Matt W., Denise, Vica, and I stopping at a roadside stand for Empanadas.  YUM!

Another evening Craig, Jonathan, and I went to Humacoa to a movie and dinner.  The movie theater had an arcade attached to it, so we wasted a little time playing some games ; )

One of the weekends, we took a short trip to a local waterfall to cool off and relax in the sun.  There are a lot of waterfalls in the area and this one was behind one of the houses that our group had worked on their roof.

As we began trekking through the jungle, it became more dense and steep taking us through bamboo forest and then opened up into a great waterfall with huge boulders and pools of water.  What a fun trip. 

The group that went was Sam, Mark, Julie, Tracy, Melissa, Emily, Derek, Marley, Craig, and I.

One of the weekends, I organized a group of 14 people  to take the ferry over to the island of Vieques (population 9,301), stay in the Lazy Hostel, and kayak the Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay.

We left base on Saturday morning and took a taxi to Ceiba where we picked up the ferry to Vieques.  The ferry lands on the North side of the Island and our hostel and other activities were on the South side, so we caught a taxi and headed South to the town of Esperanza.  The island of Vieques is 22 miles long and 8 miles wide so it was a short ride.

Just a short note about the ferry.  This one was different than any others we have been on in the past.  1) They handed out puke bags BEFORE we left port.  Not a good sign.  2) You sat in seats in an enclosed cabin.   You could not stand or wander around the ferry to get to the outside.  Luckily, none of us got sick.

As we drove along, we notice there were a LOT of wild horses all over the island.  It reminded Craig and I of our time in Assateague Island, Maryland.  Pretty cool to see horses running wild all over the place (notice the horses in the garages and on the streets below).

The group that went was:  Craig, Greg, Jonathan, Matt W., Zori, Josh, Marley, me, Emily, Elizabeth, Denise, Vica, Tina, and Matt D.

Once in Esperanza, we stopped by Lazy Hostel to checkin and get settled.  Below is our hostel with Lazy Jacks Restaurant attached, the communal kitchen, courtyard into the bunk rooms, and our bunkroom.  Most bunk rooms had 8 beds, some had 2 or 4 beds.

 

The kayaking on Mosquito Bay was not until 7pm so we split into multiple groups and wandered to different beaches and around the island, or the closest Colmado grocery store.

Craig, Greg, and I snorkeled a little bit on Playa Sun Bay, it was about 2' - 12' and not a lot to see other than see grass.  We decided it was more fun to just sit in the water, float, and chill.  Zori, Jonathan, Josh, and Matt D. snorkeled a little bit also and had fun.

Matt W. and Jonathan visited Black Sand Beach and rolled around in the black sand.  It was really fine like powdered sugar and magnetic.  It is support to be therapeutic.

There are five bioluminescent bays in the world and...three of them are in Puerto Rico!  Mosquito Bay is considered the #1 spot in the world because it is the brightest. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures because it was dark and since our cameras would not do justice, we never took them. 

If you are ever in the area, I would DEFINITELY recommend to kayak Mosquito Bay!  We used Aqua Sunset Tour and they are the only company on the island to provide a 100% clear kayak.  Even our paddles were clear.  Since there were 11 in our party, we had a private tour just for our group.  Since it was a small group and we all knew each other, this made it even more special.

 

The best time to kayak the bay is on a New Moon so the sky is at it's darkest and we nailed it!  WOW...what an amazing experience.  As we glided through the water, the waters around and beneath us would glow and even our paddles touching the water would glow.  It was like a glow in the dark experience.  As we ran our hands through the water, it was so warm and you could see the light glowing in your hand. 

About half way through our hour tour, we stopped with our guides in the middle of the water and looked into the sky for constellations and an astronomy lesson. 

Wow....what a great time and so worth the $55 per person!

The next day, we all wandered around a little bit, then caught our ferry ride back to Ceiba and to the base.  What a fun and cool weekend!

Craig and I had the opportunity to spend a week in Yauco with 4 others and partner with World Central Kitchen (WCK) to provide meals for the recent earthquake victims. 

 

If you were not aware, starting on December 28, 2019, the southwestern part of the island of Puerto Rico was struck by an earthquake swarm, including 11 that were of magnitude 5 or greater. The largest and most damaging of this sequence occurred on January 7 with a magnitude of 6.4  As of today, March 9, this area is continuing to experience earthquakes.  For up-to-date earthquake notices, click here.

Since All Hands and Hearts partnered with World Central Kitchen (WKC), 6 of us (Derek, Roberta, John, Marley, Craig, and I) traveled to the town of Penuelas (population 24,282) and stayed in an Airbnb provided by WCK.  Daily we would travel to the work site in Yauco (46,384) and prepare meals for the displaced families who were staying in the refuge camps.

The Airbnb was 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom and we all shared it for 5 days.  We had fun clowning around together.  Derek is a professional chef, so Craig and Roberta had fun cooking with him, while John, Marley, and I did the cleanup and dishes.

Below are some pictures of our Airbnb and surrounding neighborhood.  I just love the metal work on the gates, windows, and patios.

The World Central Kitchen set up a temporary outdoor kitchen in the Lions Club.  In the beginning, they provided lunch and dinner for the refuges.  This was the last week WCK would be providing meals, so they tempered it down and provided only lunch. 

Three of us (Craig, Marley, and I) would cut and prep vegetables for the salads.  Since the schools were still closed, we worked beside the Head Start Teachers cutting veggies.  It was very rewarding to be working side-by-side with the people you are helping.  Boom Boom was our Chef Boss and great to work for!

Three of us (Roberta, John, and Derek) cooked on the paella pans.  They would prepare a meat dish and a rice dish.  The most trays we prepped in a day was 53 for lunch.  These meals were wrapped up and then delivered to different refuge camps and distributed to the families in need.  Christain and Christain were the Chef Bosses and both great to work for!

In addition, we would also help wash the dishes and since this was the last week, on Friday we helped pack up the kitchen and load everything into a tractor trailer so it was prepared to be moved to the next disaster location.

Of course, we also got the eat what we made for lunch.  Below are just a few of the daily meals we prepared.  YUM!

Next door was a panaderia (bakery) so Derek and I bought dessert a few days as a special treat.  One of the day volunteers celebrated her birthday that day, so we all 'faked' a spanking and enjoyed some birthday treats.

This was the team that worked during that week.  What a great group of Chefs, teachers, and other volunteers.

 

Craig and I had a great time volunteering with World Central Kitchen and....we have added them to our list of organizations we will travel and volunteer with. 

Below are the stats of meals served by World Central Kitchen with the help of All Hands and Hearts.  Wow...what an impact we made!

During our time in Yauco, Craig had a medical scare. 

We came back from Vieques on Sunday, were back at base long enough to repack our bag and then we left for Yauco.  We noticed Craig's eye was really red on Sunday, but we were not too concerned.  As the week progressed, his eye became more red.  Below are Monday and Tuesday pictures. 

By Wednesday, Boom Boom recommended that he go see a Dr.  So, Boom Boom took Craig to the earthquake relief military Dr. and he recommended Craig visit a Dr.  So Boom Boom called and Skyped his family Dr. and he recommended Craig visit the hospital.  So...Boom Boom picked me up and we went to the Emergency Room.  

Since neither of us speak Spanish very well, Boom Boom talked to the admissions and got us all set to go and then he returned to work.  We then waited briefly for the nurse who did not speak English, however we were able to communicate enough and she took us directly to the Dr. vs. waiting any longer.  The Dr. spoke English and said it was a subconjunctival hemorrhage in the eye (broken blood vessel).  We figured it was from Craig having a cold the previous week and the snorkel mask that suctioned to his face.  The pressure of the mask broke a blood vessel in his eye.  Even though he never went deeper than 2' of water.  So...7-10 days and his eye would be better. 

Right after talking to the Dr. the rest of our team showed up and Marley (fluent Spanish) was able to help get us processed out of the Emergency Room.  A cool thing was that we were able to use All Hands and Hearts insurance, so now out of pocket cost to us.  Whew....

Since we prepped only lunch for WCK, that meant we were off work by about 2:00pm each day and were able to play and explore the area.

We visited Playa Santa in Guánica and found some pretty cool pieces of seaglass.

Another day we visited Playa Tamarindo in Yauco.

As we drove to this beach, we passed by houses that had been impacted by the recent earthquakes.  We spoke with a seasonal resident and he said that it was a high end area and the homes belonged to people that had money and could afford to pay for the damage.  He did not feel bad for them.  However, it was still sad to see.

This last picture is of a Farmacia damaged by the earthquakes.  However, it was in town and not in the nice neighborhood.  So who knows when it would be repaired and opened.

Playa Tamarindo was pretty cool.  It was a little rocky and rough so this was a something different than what we had seen so far.  We found some cool treasures along the shoreline and  some prehistoric fossil type creatures.  Craig and Roberta got a little close to the water and a nice ole wave got them nice and wet.

Another day we went further into the town of Ponce.  We wandered around their central plaza area and did some shopping.  This was the epicenter of the earthquakes and we were relieved to see that there was no apparent structural damage to some of the historic buildings.

The Parque de Bombas firehouse was built in 1882 and was Puerto Rico's first firehouse.

Another afternoon we visited the downtown area of Yauco.  What an incredible little town with amazing murals everywhere.   These are all part of Yaucromatic.  What an amazing area that was created after the hurricanes in 2017 to try and rebuild their community and bring people into the town. 

We then encountered Yaucromatic2 which is an extension of the artist trying to rebuild their community after the hurricanes.  This section was WOW...I fell in love with the paint colors and designs!

Notice in the 3rd picture the pipes.  They even painted the pipes that ran through the concrete.

I would love to paint a house these colors and patterns.  However, I know that Craig would not...be a fan of it

: )

Also, something to point out about Yauco is this is where the recent earthquakes had struck.  In the first picture, this is the school.  Notice the tents off to the right?  The school has been condemned because of the earthquakes, so these are the new temporary classrooms.  The teachers unpack/pack their school supplies each day and teach to a few students.  And the porta-potties.  They do not know when the school will be able to be used again.  So...there are many teachers without jobs and many children that are not able to attend school.  : (

Also, have a nice refreshing fruit drink after work one day.

Well, one of the last things that Craig and I did on the Yabucoa Volunteer Base was....to turn in our hard hats.  This meant that our volunteer gig was over and it was time to move on. 

As of March 9, 2020 the Yabucoa Base sealed 424 homes and have put in over 175,000 volunteer hours!

We really had a great experience volunteering with All Hands and Hearts and with World Central Kitchen.  We met some amazing volunteers, home owners, and people from Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico is a very resilient island and even though the people have encountered many obstacles, they are working hard to overcome them and move on. 

We look forward to continuing our adventure in Puerto Rico for the next month and also coming back to the island again to either volunteer or vacation.

We would like to take a moment and thank those that donated to our fund raising efforts.  We set a goal to raise $2,000 and succeeded by raising $2,091.00 before our self imposed deadline!  YEAH!!!  We sincerely appreciate your support in helping us help the people of Puerto Rico. 

 

THANK YOU...

Russett, Dan G., Mike S., Laura and Andy S., Rich and Sarah L., Loyal and Stephanie G., Colin and Susan W., Kenny and Cindy S., Troy V., Dave and Kathy S., Udy and Charlotte M., Ron and Sandy W., Tom and Carol J., Dennis and Vicki M., Karen MK., Sylvia Y., Thor and Ann R., Todd R., Jim and Deb A., Keet and Nancy N., Phil and Allyn K., Boyd W., Toby and Andrea B., Chris and Jeri M., Jia J., and Anonymous.

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