DORADO, Puerto Rico
The first weeks in the island proved to be a time of getting adjusted to community life, as well as the new culture. For starters, the climate in the island is Tropical Marine with an average temperature of 80°F (26°C). Average 73°F winter, and 85° summer. Puerto Rico enjoys warm and sunny days most of the year. Needless to say, the temperatures have been intensely high, with the occasional ten-minute rain showers here and there.
The team is managing to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and they are enjoying the cooling breeze that moves through the terrace at the Abante House every day. The sight from the terrace is gorgeous, and even more spectacular once you climb the steps to the roof of the house. The roof has become a favorite spot for the colleagues to have prayer time, fellowship, story telling, and movie nights. The view of the ocean is breathtaking!
The Abante house is located across from Kikitas Beach. This is a surfing beach, and every morning during workouts, is not surprising to find several surfers enjoying the high waves. The neighborhood is friendly, and safe, with several dogs and horses that like to follow the team on their morning runs. The team has already made several friends in the neighborhood, and with this being the second year the team stays at the Mameyal community, they have become well known by the locals.
It is impossible to come the island and not be overcome with emotion visiting any of the local beaches. The ocean is just beautiful with its turquoise and blue waters. Colleague Cat Stewart said, “when I first saw the beach, I thought it looked like a picture out of a magazine!”, and colleague Raven MacNabb, had never seen the ocean before, and so this became a dream come true, and a “bucket list” checked item.
Near the Abante House, there is a hiking trail that leads to a rocky hill where you can see unending blue waters. This is also an area where the ocean meets the river, and the locals have shared several stories of fish (like sharks) that get confused and cross over to the wrong waters. –But hey, is not wrong really, is just different, right?
Several friends of the program came to the Abante house to welcome the new team. They enjoyed home made fritters that are typical of the island, guava paste and cheese, pastries like quesitos, and puertorican dips with crackers. Besides the great food and music, building relationships was the highlight of the evening. The colleagues felt welcome and hopeful for a good time of service and cultural exchange. There is much that could be said about the first days in Puerto Rico, so much to learn and observe, and so much to see, taste, and experience still in the days to come.