After yesterday’s activities, we all woke up, packed our bags, ate, and left Todos Santos for La Duna. The two hour drive gave the group time to rest and read, so when we arrived La Duna we were prepared for our first day of service work. After setting up camp, our group embarked on a mile long hike north across the beach to a local fishing village. The village is comprised of three families who live in huts with common living areas. The buildings are built out of scrap materials, which made the scene look somewhat ramshackle upon first glance. Walking down the beach, I wondered if our group would even be welcome there, if we would just be regarded as “gringos”.
When we entered the village, we were funneled into one of the common areas where we sensed we were supposed to meet with some local residents. Those in our group who speak Spanish tried to figure out where we should go, while those of us who couldn’t understand what was being said waited in anticipation. The atmosphere seemed almost tense.
Then a classmate introduced himself to the person who seemed to be the spokesman for the village. His introduction was met with a crushing hug and a long handshake. After that, everything came naturally.
Despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate with the villages. We fed their animals, wrangled goats, learned about their garden, and cleaned up beach trash with them, joking the whole time. From start to finish, this was a valuable experience, and I’m excited to repeat it tomorrow.