After 6 long days of work here I’ve acquired a better understanding of the functional aspects of the “trabajos.” The dynamic of this program is very unique in two significant ways that I have noticed so far. First, it is founded and run solely by the youth of Chile making for a very special and distinct organization. This approach encourages a high-energy environment paired with a large amount of freedom for the teenagers to sing, dance, play and learn together. It also demonstrates the large amount of passion the youth of Chile have toward bettering their country for the future. I see a lot of Chilean pride when they chant the national slogan or have discussions about their country of residency and the people of their country. It has proven to bring about a democratic process in big decision-making that everyone is affected by. For example, this morning when we were supposed to start our second construction site we ran into a little problem. The bulldozing trucks were running behind and hadn’t gotten to clearing all the land that we were planning to build on. The two leaders of the school sat us all down, explained everything that was going on and asked if anyone had any ideas or suggestions that we could do to solve the problem. Everyone was still determined to make the construction happen and several people came up with some good alternatives. We of course decided to do whatever we could to make the construction still work. The process seemed very fair; the leaders of our school didn’t make any decisions or changes without informing and asking the opinions of everyone else whom the decisions would affect.
After a discussion the night before about what to do, we decided to get into our groups and each write down the dimensions of the land and how far the posts had to be installed. This was so that we could be more time efficient when we worked because we were already a day behind. We were encouraged to keep our energy up for the new family we were going to meet. When we got to the site in the early afternoon we immediately got down to business with the tape measures, laying out where we would be digging the holes. Everyone was working hard and fast. This land had many more heavy, large rocks that seemed almost impossible to break and remove requiring the work of a very heavy sledgehammer and often several people.
This site was more fun than the last because all the groups from more than just our school were lined up next to each other to construct. We were right in the middle so when a big speaker was brought to play blasting music to keep our energy up it was stationed right in front of our group. It made it harder for me to hear and understand the instruction of others, especially in Spanish, but as everyone sang and danced along to the music it made for a much more entertaining and fun experience. After lunch the family came to check on our progress, two of the men who were the boyfriends of the family helped us to dig the holes.
Instead of the two days that we had for the first house to dig the holes we had to condense that process into just today. That meant that we worked until 11:30pm. Big trucks came after the sun set to shine their headlights to help us see what we were doing but we needed our phones to shine in the holes to see the rocks that needed to be removed. It was extremely tiring and the long hours seemed to never end but finally it was time to go home and with no time for any activities we ate quickly and everyone went straight to bed.