On Friday we worked at the school from nine to three and for the majority of the day we acted as mentors to the children. The principal of the school would take three kids out of class at a time throughout the day to come and talk to us. Since there are three of us working there, we each would have some one on one time with the kids. The children that she would take out of class to talk to us are the ones who were missing a father figure or they were children who do not have much of a family at home. This was a hard exercise for me because it is difficult to have a serious conversation with a 7 year old. I was unsure of how to start the conversation, but once we got talking it went very well. I would ask the children what they want to be when they are older, and almost every single one said they wanted to be professional basketball player. When they said that I asked them about what they need to do to get there and they did not really know. I told them the most important thing to do is get good grade grades and work really hard. I also told them that they can’t fight with their friends all of the time and that they have to respect everyone. Most of the children really listened to what I had to say and they took the conversation to heart. Almost all of them would hug for me a while after the talk and that felt really good to know that what I said may have actually effected them. Since prior to this talk, I noticed that the some of the kids we talked to would get in a lot of fights at recess. Some of them did not really pay attention in class and would just talk all class to their friends. But as I was talking to them the biggest problem I noticed with the children was that they had no confidence or self-esteem. Which was really sad to hear them talk about, and the only thing I could do about that is talk them up for a while. It worked at the time, but once I leave I feel like things will go back to the way they were and it is sad because all of the kids are so exuberant and bright. This was a real growing experience for me and it made me stretch out of my comfort zone.
Yesterday we had the day off and we went to play basketball with the locals on the island. At the beginning they did not really like us being there, but by the end of the game we were joking with them and having a great time. I think they were hesitant towards us in the beginning because we are completely different from them in so many ways on the surface. But once we started talking to them and playing, it was like those differences just disappeared and it was as if we had known them for years. They invited us to come back to play on monday, which we will definitely do. Today we woke up and spackled the addition filling in all of the holes in the wood. That was difficult, but with three of us it went pretty fast. Once we finished that we had a lot to paint over and we had to put a third coat of paint in some place which was hard because a lot of those places were on the ceiling. But we have made great progress and only have to paint the floor yet. So far I am having a great time with all of these activities and I look forward to the week ahead. I’ll talk to all of you soon.