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Women’s & Children’s Health Camp: Last day of camp in Chiapas, Mexico March 16th, 2017

The team awoke to the usual wakeup knock and hotel breakfast. Today is the last day of camp. We will be revisiting the school we adopted, but this time, we will visit the kindergarteners. Their one room schoolhouse sits adjacent to the elementary school, up in the mountains of the Chiapas highlands, an area almost always in the clouds.

After breakfast, a couple of team members decided to buy more toys and trinkets for the kindergarteners.; we found bubbles, tambourines, balls, stickers, hula hoops, clay, and jump ropes. We rushed back to the hotel to catch the bus to Chamula, the mountain village in which the school is located. On our way to the school, we stopped at a piñata shop and bought a piñata and candy as a surprise for the kids. Following a series of twists and turns up the mountain, we made it to the top where the tiny humans greeted us with curious stares and smiles. A few minutes is all it took for them to warm up to us and start playing the Mexican version of tag. Eventually, the team started taking a few kids aside and measuring them for their uniform size, while the others continued to play with their new toys. The smiles on the kids’ faces reminded me of when I was a child too, playing on the playground during my own recess.

After measurements, the team brought out the school supplies and passed them out to the children, who had very patiently lined up at the table in anticipation. The kids expressed nothing but joy at their new possessions; some held onto their supplies like a millennial protecting his or her caseless iPhone. In the background, construction workers, hired from the funds we raised, finished the blacktop for their play area, covering up the last of the rocks and gravel. Inside the school, team members were either making new bookshelves or helping install a new whiteboard. The team, then, brought cake up for the kids, and of course, they beelined for the tasty treat. The Spanish speaking student volunteers handed out the dental hygeine supplies and taught the little students about dental health.

We unearthed the surprise pinata and had all the kids form a giant circle around it, each taking a turn at breaking it open. When it finally did get cracked open, it was absolute mayhem; the kids piled on top of each other to get at every piece of candy their tiny hands could claim. After the candy was safely packed away in their backpacks, we resumed Mexican Tag until it was time for them to head home. The Humanity First Guatemala chairman was also present and enjoyed seeing our efforts and positive results from our fundraising.

After the ride back down the mountain, the team had a couple hours to explore. We took a spontaneous trip to a hilltop church and were treated to a breathtaking view of the sun setting on San Cristobal de las Casas. We ended the day with a nice dinner and headed back to the hotel to rest up for our 0400 trip to Palenque the next morning.

"This was, arguably, the sweetest yet saddest day of the camp. Sweet, because these children were absolute gems; they didn’t let language or unfamiliarity stand in the way of befriending 23 strangers. Sad, because these children had next to nothing; a few clothes and shoes with holes so large, their feet were actually hanging out of them. To see their faces light up, whether it’s from something as small as a coloring book to something as important as new bookshelves and desks or an entire playground, is why we continue to do what we do.” Tasneem Waliullah, BSN, RN | Humanity First USA Team Lead Assist

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