Our second day of work greeted us with the bluest skies and hottest weather we had seen since arriving in Nicaragua. Despite the heat, we were all optimistic as we began our day’s work. Once we arrived at the worksite, Janier, the leader of the construction project, appointed us the task of creating and mixing the cement. Although this task sounds easy, for each batch of cement we were required to fill over five wheelbarrows with asphalt, sand, and then two bags of cement mix. Our job did not end there; we then needed to mix the materials together by hand. After mixing, we then proceeded to fill the center of the cement with water. This is where we encountered our first problem. Within five minutes, the water was pouring out through the concrete, making it difficult to keep it wet.
We approached the second batch of the concrete with an entirely new game plan. Our strategy had improved, as well as our teamwork… or so we thought. We failed so miserably that the poor neighboring tree fell victim to our excess concrete. We were a bit discouraged that we would never master the art of concrete mixing. After a well deserved water break, we decided to give it a third try. Not exaggerating, this time we could have been mistaken for an actual cement mixer. Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but, we did finally get the hang of the job, and our communication was the best it had ever been. I guess the third time really is the charm.
It would have been easy to give up the first time, or when we nearly killed a tree. But through teamwork, positive attitudes, and help from Janier and the rest of the locals, we learned what we were capable of. It’s easy to give up, especially when you fail multiple times, but you never know what time will be the time that you succeed. Whether teaching a class, mixing concrete, or testing out our Spanish skills, we all have undoubtedly failed during this trip, one time or another. We can’t expect to be successful every time, but we can expect to have some successes. It could be one conversation with a child, or knowing that you did a job correctly. Whether the first, third, or tenth time, we all are going to keep pushing ourselves until we find the charm.
Molly and Matthieu