My name is Mikel-Bryan Ott and I’m a senior Sports management and marketing major apart of the 2024 Merida ABST.
On our last official day in Merida we started early with a fun activity before our service activity happening later. As a group we departed for the beach around 8:30am which was when our local accompanier Jose arrived with the van, and we also got him to join us as well so even though he was working we wanted him to have fun with us (Jose is a really cool dude). We also invited Barrett, who has been in Merida for about 2 months and is from Minnesota. She volunteers and helps out at the Los Amiguitos and she stays with the family working with the mission that was helping us. Barrett also is very cool, because she speaks really good Spanish and helped us with walking around and getting to places we didn’t drive to, because gps in Merida was not always the best.
We were at the beach for a few hours, and this was my first time swimming in the ocean, which was a salty first experience 😅. A lot of sun burnings happened that morning.
After we left, we went to Casa Blanca to change then headed to Los Amiguitos to help with the panuchos fundraiser. We had to make a lot of panuchos. Me and the guys had a different beginning task as the girls, we were helping set up the serving stations outside and we helped retrieve sour oranges of from a tree for a drink they needed to make which tastes very good and I didn’t realize they made directly from there own oranges when I tasted it earlier in the week. The girls were helping set up the punuchos tortillas which I heard it was difficult at first attempt but then they got it. Other girls in our group were helping in the kitchen with preparing the panucho toppings like onions, lettuce, carrots, and meat.
After that it was panucho time the preparation stations were set up for the panuchos and some of us were at the gate trying to gather attention to the panucho fundraiser. I was really passionate about it, being a business major and all. I was saying panuchos to every passing vehicle. Other people in our group were putting up a sign and trying to engineer a way for the wind not to mess it up. They succeeded.
We eventually started getting people, and I think some were friends of the daycare/mission workers. Eventually everyone in our group was at the preparation tables assembling panuchos together. The goal was to sell 500 but we sold over 200 which the daycare was very satisfied. At the end the ladies running the fundraiser told us to eat, because they appreciated all of our helps and we had a lot of panucho material left for us to make our own. After we all ate, we helped them clean also and said some final goodbyes and thanks. It felt great being able to help out this week, and it felt amazing making so many new people laugh with me trying to speak Spanish poorly. Also one more thing, the group learned never give me a microphone because I definitely annoyed the mess out of them the way I was yelling panucho 😂.