Day four, our final full day of volunteer service, started with the team trickling in to breakfast a little bit slower than past days. The physical yet fulfilling work we are doing appears to be catching up with us. I think the only one I have not heard make a comment to that fact is Jack, who does not seem to be phased by the work or its intensity. It made me recognize how fortunate we all are to be able to make a living without doing backbreaking work when so many others around the world are not as fortunate.
After another well-prepared meal, the Message of the Day, and the prior days journal entry we evaluated our progress regarding the team goals. We were all in agreement that we had successfully met our goals, including the always important goal of personal growth. It was also voiced and recognized that the goals and the success of this service project were due in large part to the enthusiastic and professional leadership of our team leader, Maggie. This experience would not have been the same without her. We reviewed our itinerary for the next few days and then made our way to the school.
After another round of student introductions, we divided up the work and set out to do our morning tasks. Caitlin, Emma, and I, along with Mr. Personality 7th grader Mariano, set out to make a mess of all the fine tilling Ray had just spent three days perfecting. Sorry about that, buddy, but you set the bar too high for us. Speaking of Mariano, not only does this kid have more charm than I ever had at his age, he somehow has more charm that I’ve been able to glean in 49 years. Whatever…moving on.
On our first break we took many pictures that I hope we will be able to share. Somehow there ended up being some pictures of random dogs running around but I for one am certainly not complaining.
After break I enjoyed getting to know Caitlyn and Emma a little bit better as we tried to leave our mark on the soon-to-be vegetable garden. I especially enjoyed hearing some of their stories about their service project in West Virginia. I would be lying if I did not point out that we were all generously relieved when an impromptu soccer match took us away from our midmorning tasks. It has been interesting for me to observe how easily all of the volunteer kids interact with the kids at the school. It just reinforces the notion that we are all much more alike than we are different.
After a hearty lunch and more time tilling, a few of us were able to have a stimulating, intellectual, and rewarding conversation with a young man named Isaac. To me, this kid was unlike any of the other kids at school. He stood out for all of the right reasons. Not only did he speak almost perfect English, he was polite, kind, seriously smart, and mature way beyond his thirteen or fourteen years. He was self-aware enough to know that the school, as great as it is, is most likely under-serving his particular brand of intelligence and intellect. That said, he’s going places and I’m sure he is going to be just fine.
Our final workday ended with, you guessed it, another impromptu soccer match. This one punctuated by Edison schooling everyone on the intricacies of how soccer is supposed to be played. His intensity so ferocious that he was involved in another dustup midfield and it looked like he might make an unprecedented third trip to the clinic. Fortunately, (mostly for mom Pam) that was not the case and he was soon back on the sideline cheering on his teammates.
We ended the evening with another great meal where there was lots of laughter and reminiscing about the week behind us. This service project has really turned into everything that was touted in the brochure. Thank god, because really when does that ever happen?
Entry submitted: Jeremie
Message of the Day – Ben: “True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.” – Suze Orman