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Building each mission was a long and arduous task. Not only did the work have to be accomplished but also the neophytes (newly baptized) had to be schooled in trades and learn the Spanish language and culture. Everyday was a learning experience for the padres (who were learning many things from the Indians) and for the Indians (who were learning new and different things from the padres). It was only mutual respect and cooperation that would ensure that these great institutions would thrive and build a cornerstone for this great state of California.

Everyday as the bells rang out for attention, the people would scatter to their particular task. The men were taught how to plow, plant, cultivate and reap. They were also taught how to make adobe bricks and how to build structures. They were taught how to make candles from tallow (animal fat) and how to make soap. Animal husbandry or taking care of the livestock was also to be learned.

The women would take care of the children, learn to work with wool and take care of the clothing, prepare food, continue to make wonderful tightly woven baskets as they had learned to do before the Spanish arrived.

The children would spend their days with their lessons and assisting their parents and the padres with adobe making and tending to the animals and crops. The children continued with their native games and customs and stories handed down by their elders.

Life on the mission compound afforded many new and different learning experiences not unlike a child's life today.

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Coby Schumm

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Q: What do the padres do at the San Diego mission?
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