Spanish: learn it through hand signals.

Going from one of the hardest experiences on the trip to one of the BEST experiences on the trip, Majagual might just be one of the most beautiful places in the world. On the top of the top of the top of a mountain, over looking the vast area of a distant ocean, Majagual and it’s people radiate beauty from every corner.

The last 2 and a half days of our backpacking trip led us to the campo of Majagual, about two hours away from ILAC. It is located on a dirt road that can only be accessed if there hasn’t been any rain recently. The road floods constantly and it’s inhabitants are forced to either walk in the mud or wait til the road dries. For a community based on the cocao crop, chocolate, this year was a thriving one. If you think that chocolate tastes good right off the tree, just ask Morgan about it. Enough said.

When we arrived, we had lunch at Fransisco’s house, where we ate all of our meals, then dispersed and went to our respective families. Rachel Belsha and I became sisters in that moment. Paired together to share in the family experience, Rachel and I linked hands with our new found sister Elena and started our 1/2 a mile walk to our new casa. Our home was great! Two bedrooms, a couch and table, and misquito nets galore. Oh how I love misquito nets… not. After getting aquainted with everyone, it was off to work.

Rachel Johnson, Amy, Morgan, Tim, and myself made a group designed for making bathrooms… yay! With Fransisco leading us, we were in for one great journey! Morgan, Rachel, and I can fake Spanish to an extent, but we were saved by hand signals. When we didn’t understand something, or wanted to relay a message we couldn’t say, sign language was our new best friend. Fransisco picked it up pretty quick and played along great! By the end, he was even singing to us… We returned the favor with a little J Beebs, Backstreet Boys, and S Club 7, good thing there was a language barrier. :/

The sign language continued to prove itself as Rachel Johnson and I had Spanish lessons with our new sisters. Elena and Noelia, Rachel’s sister, spent around 2 hours helping us say words we didn’t know. They are great teachers, and dispite our laughing fits and making fun of Rachel saying the wrong things sometimes, we were really productive. My brother Rafael even helped out a bit too. Hand signals such as walking really fast, rapido, then slowing it down to learn the word for slow, lento, was funny AND fun to do. The girls thought it was hilarious, but loved helping us too. One of the many great things about the campo was the fact that my Spanish understanding and vocab grew immensly. I was picking up words easier and understanding concepts, even though they talk SO fast.

After the two and a half days flew pass and it was time to say goodbye, there was no language barrier. The sadness felt in the room didn’t need words. The tears didn’t need to be gestured out. The love needed no translation. After saying goodbye and getting on the bus, holding my head up strong and trying not to cry, our families ran after the bus and jumped on to be with us one last time. Nothing could hold the tears back then, so I cried. I cried for the goodbyes already said, the love I had for my family, the trip being almost over, and the joy of seeing my parents and brother back in the States. Needless to say it was an emotional ride home.

To the families I just met and the family I have been missing for 10 days…

I love you more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.


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