Today, we spent our last full day in Puerto Rico. And as a way of connecting more deeply with those we’ve been helping for the past week, we spent it exploring San Juan and learning about the history, geography, and culture of the island.

Two of our group leaders had prepared a scavenger hunt of things and places to see in Old San Juan. We divided into groups and set off about the city that was founded nearly 500 years ago. From the walls of the castles and forts that protected the city for centuries, to the Governor’s mansion; from the ports where massive cruise ships dock, to the US Customs House; from the cathedral built in 1540, to the old gothic cemetery overlooking the Caribbean; and museums, plazas, and other historic sites, our teams worked together to seek the full story of this pluralistic land.

Just as the afternoon sun was about to get the best of us, we all gathered at the pier, where a simple but shaded pontoon boat awaited, and we got to see the historic city from the harbor. Our boat’s crew of 2 narrated the history, politics and sites of all we had become familiar with, helping to pull the centuries of history together for us. After our taco dinner, we all took time to reflect on our trip – all that we had accomplished and learned; all who we had impacted and served. Indeed, Puerto Rico has changed us for the better. We trust that we have had the same effect on her.

 

“…and then I realized adventures are the best way to learn.”  –Anonymous