Guarari de Heredia is a only five hour drive from from Ujarrás de Beunos Aires, yet it is worlds apart. Guarari is an urban community on the outskirts of San Jose. For a good comparison between the two, in Ujarrás we were able to put a bronze plaque near ground level just off the court to commemorate our sponsors.
In Guarari, we had to attach it to the basket, because if it was at ground level, it would have most likely been pried off and stolen. Guarari has many problems with drugs and crime. The day after our group departed, there was a drug bust, where 600 people were arrested. As you can imagine, this court will be a huge asset for their community. Prior to this court, kids would need to walk 30 minutes to get to the nearest court. It is no wonder that as soon as the concrete was dry, the kids were constantly swarming it. Even in a torrential downpour, the kids kept playing.
The biggest impact on our team of 18 students and adults from Vancouver, Washington was probably how tight-knit the community was. Our group was mostly made up of females and I think they surprised the locals with their work ethic, determination and strength. But the community came out and spent hours of their own time volunteering right alongside our team to make sure that the court was getting finished. On the last day, they threw a big celebration for our group, with music and food and dancing. Our team was deeply impacted. I think it was a great example of two cultures coming together helping each other out. Below are some quotes from our team:
“The memories I have obtained from this trip are completely life changing and unforgettable. I was introduced to a new lifestyle that is 100% different than what I have been living my whole life.”
“I learned that no matter what material possessions you may have, nothing compares to family and friends. This week you could see that these people didn’t have very much, yet they were always happy and loved their families more than anything.”