Camping with the Boys

Katie promised the boys that we would camp out with them on Friday, so our typical morning cram into vehicles was even tighter with sleeping bags, extra clothes and equipment.  Jen and Monica treated the team to chilaquiles before our departure and once fueled we headed out for Irapuato. En route as we stopped for gas we see a VWbus and talk with the owner about possible places to buy the accelerator cable we need. The guy was great, directed us to a nearby shop (that sadly didn’t have the part) and even let us pose for the obligatory shot of me trying steal his cable. We get in another solid day’s work on our projects and the boys are stoked to see us stick around on friday rather than heading home. After dinner with the boys and setting up a few tents in the courtyard we watch the boys settle in for for a movie. Only a handful go in to watch the movie as they seem to prefer the entertainment of hanging out with us and karma.

As the temperature starts to drop with the night air we make a campfire out back and everyone circles to enjoy the warmth and watch the boys cook mexican smores. Clearly a rare treat for them and they are elated each time they return to Katie for another marshmallow.

By the time the movie and campfire are over we are exhausted and most are making their way to their respective vehicles or tents for bed. We still didn’t want to risk bringing E down the hill (or returning up it) with our makeshift accelerator cable repair, so Jen and I end up sleeping in the classroom. Katie offered an air mattress, so despite being on the classroom floor we might have had a decent nights of sleep.

We wake up and play with the boys in the courtyard until breakfast is ready.  A few of the older boys put on a bit of a parkour display to pass the time, and a few of us old blokes might have even joined in just for fun. We enjoy breakfast as a group and then rush back to projects after realizing our limited time for the day. Most of the day was spent finishing up the painting in the boys’ rooms, hanging the tire swing/tire wall and getting out the sleeping bags to those who didn’t yet have them. Katie began to go around adding some graffiti detail with spray paint and stencils and things really began feeling like they were coming together.

At the end of the day we are all completely exhausted from our two days onsite.  Our energy levels are given a huge boost when the boys upstairs actually started cleaning/arranging their own spaces and taking a bit of pride in their personal space.  Similarly, on the playground the tires swing was in full use for the afternoon and the boys couldn’t wait for us to finish the tire wall. It truly made the experience worthwhile to see them begin interacting with the projects we’ve spent so much time and energy working on and gave us all hope that indeed we might be making a difference, even if its a small one.