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May 19, 2014 : The trip

Spending a week in Honduras was not enough! It was one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have had so far in my architecture career. The energy around the compound, full of brigades from all over the country, was contagious. There were so many different stories to share. Our brigade was building a house and a kitchen for two families in El Ojochal, and we had just 5 days to do it. From the moment we met the families I knew we were doing something amazing. The look on their faces was enough to motivate me to do the most I could in the next 5 days. It seems to have paid off because we were ahead of schedule most of the week! Every day I was excited to wake up early and get to work (and I had to take advantage of those early, less hot and humid hours).

I was able to learn a lot from the local masons about their construction techniques, and they were patient enough to deal with my extreme lack of Spanish vocabulary. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are extreme perfectionists just like us!

In the end the families were beyond grateful for everything we had done. We were even able to buy them several household items from a local market! One of the families threw us a little dance party in their new house on the last day, and I must say they have got some pretty jam-worthy music selections. The children in El Ojochal were also a major highlight. During our education day we were able to organize activities with the students of the local school and I must say I was very impressed by many of the kids! They are very quick learners and understand things about the built environment I probably hadn’t at that age. I can only hope they all have bright futures. Hopefully our work in El Ojochal does not stop now, there is plenty of work still to be done! I definitely plan on coming back next year and I’m hopeful to recruit as many of my peers as I can.

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May 19, 2014 : Introduction

Three years into architecture school and I’ve still yet to manage my sleep or sanity. This past spring semester at USC was the first we’ve been able to fully integrate conceptual ideas with building systems, structure, facade and site into one semester long proposal for a new Center For Architecture & Urban Design in downtown Los Angeles. We were able to build some incredible large-scale models, thanks to endless nights in studio filled with coffee and a few mental breakdowns.

Now that it has finally ended our trip to Honduras is right around the corner. I became interested in joining the Global Architecture Brigades this year through the experiences and advice of my peers. While fantasizing about our own studio projects has its perks and distractions, it’s nice to be able to be put back down on solid ground where real people need our help and guidance. I do not fully what to expect from my experience in Honduras, but I will breathe fully into the unfamiliar. I know my career will be a long, strenuous and slow road, but I embrace it with the things I do not know yet. This trip to Honduras would be a step on that road. I know the reasons why the trip is appealing to me but I cannot admit to knowing the knowledge and perspective it will give me after I have been there and experienced it firsthand and that is what excites me. All I know is that it will change me in some way, and in that respect I will be that much closer to realizing my capabilities and motivations in my own profession career. After Honduras I will be spending my summer in Key West, Florida interning for an architecture firm. I can only hope the beach won’t prove too distracting. At the end of the summer, I will be off to Barcelona to study abroad for the fall semester. When I return to Los Angeles in 2015 I hope to be refreshed and ready to tackle my final three semesters at USC.