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AYA Service Tour 2009 in Monterrey, Mexico (03/07-15/09)
Day 3: Gaining Momentum - Tasting habits

    The jovial Yale group of volunteers gathered again for the bus ride to the dusty districts of Alianza Real for our second day of our work in the region. Everything was running smoother now in the second day of the program, since we were not belated significantly (except for the bus drivers that seem to be in habit of losing themselves around Monterrey).
    On the construction site, the team was finally having their lumber supply and the playground started taking shape on the ground with Connie, our master architect to constantly cut wood, aided by David and the rest of us, assembling, following her directions, all during familiarizing ourselves with the art of drilling and digging.
    On the doctors tent, things seem to have been busier today, since the medical team was more confident that they could see more people, based on the previous days turnout and so they allocated more timeslots that were filled by the population (mostly women and children) of Allianza Real.
    The dust of the first day having settled, the public health team came on the field with a new modus operandi that meant to prove greatly successful. Consistent with Deboraghs meticulous regime of finding the questions first, and then the answers they went out to look at some houses (and latrines) the previous day, so that to assess the situation, before making suggestions about cleanliness that they didn't have the resources to implement. Meanwhile, Victor helped adapt the Peer Health Educators course to come up with some yummy tips on nutrition that the women around Alianza Real seemed to be particularly interested in. No wonder then why Jers cooking class was selling out for every performance! Food is a priority for the people of Alianza Real; if only they did not drink [the caramelized soft drink of the century] their health would have been superior. The integrated approach to the food habits of the population was extended a couple of boulders and tents away where Fred from the medical team pointed out that much of the dental problems of the children are attributed to high-consumption of soft drinks; over water (!). In fact, Abraham, having been educated and grown up in Monterrey, could attest to the fact that poor people drink [x] over water since it is cheaper! And children sadly cannot avoid this consumerist deadlock either since it is cheaper than milk as Tannis pointed out.
Deborah was also enlisting the help of some of the Promatoras, local women who acted as community volunteers, and guides for us, to paint a Hygiene and Nutrition sign that better indicated what the classes would be about as well as the help of the always eager- PrepaTEC students who translated from Spanish into Spanish (colloquial) that the local women could understand.
    The highlight of the day, for me, was the presence of an XO computer, of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, brought to the site by Connie which the kids loved and I expect learned a little bit of English and mathematics with it, as well as enjoying themselves in the mind-boggling maze.
    As for my class, the turnout today was fantastic, especially in the afternoon when I had the honor to teach Tae Kwon Do; well, at least pass on my amateur skills to eager children. At the end, all of them were able to perform a kick or two and hold the body balance in line with the TKD fighting stance. My only concern was that the children were not consistent in coming to all the classes. So, I had different students to work with every time and building up on skills during the week seemed a challenge, at the time.
    Meanwhile, the revered Banana Brigade, assisted by Nicole today was touring the houses around Alianza Real, while a group of Prepa TEC Students, with David, were constructing a makeshift, brand new football/basketball field in a neighborhood in the region. They were very successful and pretty soon the new field was populated with eager children.
    Back to the camp, Rob started his singing class with his incredible travel guitar and the class seemed to gather significant amounts of people and talent. They are preparing a song to perform at the closing ceremony, this coming Friday.
    So day 3 was very successful with the weather being kinder to us in the desert rose of Alianza Real and with the people in the community fully involved in our project and all the volunteers at full energy for the whole (long) day.