Monday, September 19, 2011

El Día Internacional de Limpieza de Costas, Ríos y Lagos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures don’t cut it, how am I supposed to write a blog about my Saturday experiences?  Nothing I say will do the day justice. 

To show you what I mean, here’s the bare bones of what I did on Saturday: I got up before 8am, met a group of 5th and 6th grade students and their parents, and picked up trash at several locations along Rio Patillas (the river in a nearby town named Patillas).  See?  It doesn’t SOUND like a wonderful day.  But it was.

Saturday was El Día Internacional de Limpieza de Costas, Ríos y Lagos (The International Day of Cleaning Coasts, Rivers, and Lakes).  Therefore, the 5th and 6th grade Recycling Club at Guamani organized a day to clean up Rio Patillas.  Being a friend of the 5th/6th grade teachers and a good little volunteer, I came along. 

We met up at a restaurant, and carpooled to 3 river locations from there, because we had such a good turnout of students.  (16 students and their parents and/or brothers/sisters).  Our group traveled in a caravan of 5 cars.  Rachel and I rode with 2 of her 5th grade boys and one of the boys’ fathers.  Riding with them made me smile as we listened to a Kids Bop cd of popular songs, the words changed.  (My favorite edit: “Meet a really nice girl send some really nice texts” in “The Lazy Song,”).  There are kids in this world who are still kids! 

At the river, we grabbed our Glade Force Flex trash bags (different brand, but every time I put something heavy in one of them, I thought to myself, “HEFTY HEFTY HEFTY!”)  and one rubber glove each, and went to work.  I picked up countless plastic bags, paper plates, food wrappers, etc.  Others found bottles, cans, and some more interesting pieces.  In one of the other groups, they found a toilet seat. 

The whole group hanging out in the river
at the end of the day

Doing my part!

Heisha and Rachel.  :)

Soon we were done with our spot along the river, and moved to a new area—or tried to.  Turned out to be private property, so we went to the park (still on the river) where we would meet up with the other groups at 11:30.  We cleaned up that area (there I found a broken ceramic plate, part of an engine or something, a ceramic pipe thing, lots of broken glass, and metal wires that did my Force Flex in—much more interesting finds for me), and then the kids played in the water and enjoyed their newly clean river. 

I sat on a warm rock in the sun and took in my surroundings.  Palms and flowering trees lining the river, green rolling mountains dotted with trees and grassy areas in the distance, colorful houses along one shore.  The sky a pretty blue, with fluffy white clouds passing us by.  It was a perfect day in an idyllic location.  In the quiet mountain park, I felt like I was experiencing the true Puerto Rico. 

Around 12:30, people started filtering out, and we rode back to the restaurant where we’d first met up and left our cars.  We were hungry, and decided that since we were already at a restaurant with a pretty view of the lake, we might as well eat there.

Unfortunately, there were probably close to 20 of us, and at 1:00 in the afternoon (probably not this particular restaurant’s normal busy time), there was only one waitress.  45 minutes after we ordered, we were brought a pitcher of water.  An hour after we ordered, we had silverware and condiments on our tables.  About 15 minutes after that, our drinks and food began arriving.  Really, the wait wasn’t the worst thing in the world…though we were hungry, we did have a nice view and good company. 

A great view as we waited...and waited...and waited for our food.

Before we got our food, we watched the turtles play from
the deck where we sat.
After we ate, the kids fed the turtles our leftovers.
Or tried to...the fish were often quicker than the turtles.
(Liz--don't hate me!  I was not party to this wildlife feeding.)

We returned to Guayama around 4:00pm.  Both Rachel and I were tired and ready for naps as she dropped me off in the Walmart parking lot (where I’d left my car to carpool with her that morning).  As she drove away, I discovered that my keys were not in my purse.  They were, after a quick check through the window, definitely still in the ignition…locked inside.

Mmhmm...those'd be my keys all right.

Thankfully, Eddie must have been nearby, and after I called him, he arrived with a coat hanger only minutes later.  Also thankfully, it seems my Honda is easier to break into than my Jeep back home was (impossible to get into with a hanger—I tried several times over the years), and Eddie had me inside in minutes.  A rather comical ending to the day.  This week’s mission: make a copy of that key!  

PS...I don't know why the words are highlighted in white on this's bugging me, and I would fix it if I knew how.  

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