The Last Day

Today is our last day on this beautiful island and it is very upsetting. We just left the school where we have been working and it was really hard to say goodbye to all of the kids. It took about 30 minutes to get out of each classroom because the kids would no let go of our clothes as we were trying to leave. We have built up a bond with the children that is unlike anything else I have experienced. Before this trip, I never really worked with kids that much and these past two weeks have taught me a lot. As we were walking away a few of the children were crying and that was very hard to see. In addition to finishing our time at the school, we also finished painting the room we had been working on. That was a great feeling to be done with that after many hours of work on those walls. I am using the internet at a shop and they are closing soon, so I have to get off. I will write another post when I can log on again.

Jon

More Work at the School

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.

Starting Work at the School!

We have worked about three days at the school in town, and it has been a blast. The school goes form pre-k to 6th grade, and there are anywhere from 5 to 15 kids in each class. We have been working with each class and just helping out the teacher with whatever they need. We also run their Physical education classes, and we did that all of yesterday. I was exhausted at the end of the day, running around with little kids for 6 hours is harder than I thought. All of the kids love hearing about us and what our lives are like, it is so much fun to talk to them. When we show up in the morning they all start yelling our names and jumping around. All of the kids are so exuberant and playful, I forgot how much fun little kids are.

The most popular sport amongst the children is basketball, but a few of them really enjoy soccer. I have been playing soccer with a lot of kids and they love playing. The kids get really attached to us, there is one girl who will not leave my side. She is so cute and loves to just play any kind of game with me. Everyday when I walk into the school, smiles at me and starts waving her hands in the air. The kindergarten kids are a handful to say the least, they just love to yell and scream. About half of the class calls me the baby because I had paint on my shorts on the second day. It is really funny to hear them calling me that all of the time, it is really fun. Well so far I have had a great time down here and I look forward to the rest of the trip!

Talk to you guys soon!

The Third Night in the Bahamas….

Hey guys,

I have been down here for two nights and it has been wonderful. The weather has been unbelievable compared  to back home, it is about 70 degrees everyday. Today it did rain for the part of the day, but we still had a pretty good time. The house I am staying in is really wonderful, it is right on the beach and very comfy. It is literaly eight steps from the ocean and you can hear the waves crashing from everywhere in the house, it is really almost like a dream. Woody’s grandparents are very nice and could not be more generous.

We started our work today at the house by painting an addition that they just added on. We did that for the majority of the day and it was a really fun time working with my friends and getting the job part way finished. After painting we went into town and played some pickup basketball with a few of the locals. It was really fun to play around with them and meet some people from the town. Tomorrow is our first day working at the school, I do not really know what to expect other than playing sports with all the kids.  Other than that I do not know what the school is going to have us do, but whatever they have us do, I am looking forward to it very much.

Other than that not too much has been going on and I write another post soon….

talk to all of you then!

Jon Schauer

Only Three Days!

Hey everybody,

My name is Jon  and I am a senior at Westtown School. I leave for the Bahamas on Saturday, February 20th,and I am ecstatic. I will be staying in Elbow Cay on a very small island with fellow senior Woody’s grandparents. They live down there full time and have been nice enough to let me join Woody and stay at their house. I am very excited to get there and start my project. Especially with all of the snow that we have gotten here recently, the beach sounds great now!

I am going on this trip with Woody  and Matt, also seniors,  and they are both good friends of mine. We will be working on an addition that Woody’s grandparents have just added on. From what I understand it still needs to be painted and some other little things need to be done, so that will be part of our project while we are there. We will also be working at the local school doing things like playing with them during their P.E. classes and after school activities. I will be playing soccer with them most of the time since that is one of my passions and from what I hear, the kids in the Bahamas love to play as well. I do not know all of the details of what I will be doing, but that is the main part of my project and it seems like it will be a blast.

I cannot wait to leave, I wish we were on the plane right now! But I will update everyone once I land and have settled down. Talk to all of you then!!