Experiencing “Firsts” While Serving in the Caribbean

Serving in the Caribbean with Global Volunteers

There’s a first for everything. And you experience many of them while serving in the Caribbean as a Global Volunteer. Rechelle and her teenage daughter Kayla (pictured above) spent a week volunteering in Anse la Raye – on the island of St. Lucia. Read on as Rechelle reflects on the many firsts she experienced on their service program – focusing specifically on the one that impacted her the most: working with the children in the preschool.

Although I’ve been to the Caribbean more times than I can remember, I’m certain I will never forget my experience in Anse La Raye, because here, I experienced many firsts.

  • First Catholic mass.
  • First taste of bread fruit.
  • First view of a mangrove.
  • My first mud bath.
  • First swim under a waterfall.
  • First time working in a preschool.

Needless to say, the last of these firsts was the most significant, and thus it will leave an indelible mark on my memory.

The Kid Step preschool, where my daughter Kayla and I worked, was a lively, colorful, quaint little schoolhouse, with 50 students spread across three classrooms — the Tiny Tots, the Tweenies, and the Rising 5s.

Kayla with some of the sweet children at Kid Step Preschool

On day one I was introduced as “Auntie” Rechelle, which indicated that I was not officially a teacher, but rather a teacher’s helper, equally deserving of the children’s respect.

Within 20 minutes, I knew the names of all 17 of my Tweenies. Yes, soon after I arrived I did consider them mine.  Their smiles warmed my heart. Their sing-songy voices were a delight to hear. The way they called me Auntie made me feel like I was at home with my own nieces and nephews. And I loved the way Alejandro, called me Sharelle instead of Rechelle.

Rechelle at Kid Step singing with the children

Rechelle helping the children identify shapes

I got to spend the week with an amazing group of Tweenies, 3 and 4 year olds, working hard to advance to the Rising 5s. To get there, my Tweenies needed to know their colors, the letters of the alphabet, and the sounds each letter makes. They had to identify not just basic shapes like a square or a triangle, but also a trapezoid, a parallelogram, and an octagon. Wow!

Teacher Sameeta prepared them well, and I’m glad I got to be the Auntie / Helper for a week in the summer of 2017. Come the fall, I have no doubt my Tweenies will have Risen to the 5s.

Experience your own firsts in St. Lucia!

Learn about serving in the Caribbean with Global Volunteers on our St. Lucia volunteer page. Or, read about Rechelle and Kayla’s experience volunteering in Cuba together: A Mother’s Perspective: “Volunteering in Cuba with My Daughter”

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