A Most Memorable Volunteer Experience in the Caribbean
Taaneil recently volunteered in the Caribbean for the first time. In his trip with Global Volunteers he served in St. Lucia helping build a library for a Primary School. It was an experience of many firsts and many learning opportunities. Here he gives an account of his experience, a most memorable volunteer experience.
Looking back two weeks ago I came to St. Lucia knowing that my service trip will involve many new “first experiences.” This was certainly the case from attending my first mass at a Catholic Church and walking through a quaint seaside Caribbean village to putting smiles on the students’ faces during lunch/free time at the primary school when playing educational games and doing arts and crafts. However, there was one experience that I least expected of having which ended up being a most memorable volunteer experience: carpentry work to build a new library for Anse La Raye Primary School.
Today, another beautiful hot and sunny day, I headed back to the school to continue on the work where Johan, a fellow volunteer, and I left off on our long, continuous efforts of completing the library from scratch by the end of the second week. Both 20-foot long bookshelves received their final coat of red and blue paint, respectively, with the help of two helpful sixth grade students: William and Christian, who had the eagerness to engage in our project each step of the way.
During lunch many precious students came up to me asking for clay that I brought previously for an art activity. Rather than being let down for me not bringing the clay again, the students did not seem to mind and insisted on playing a game with me instead. So I decided to take the letter pieces from the game Bananagrams found in the volunteer cabinet and had them practice their spelling to keep the game educational. Afterwards, Johan and I continued work on the library where we now started painting the walls a very faint orange – essentially a peach shade – to give the library a cozier, inviting aesthetic than the existing plain white.
Although I do not expect to have the library completed by my last day here, what matters more is the time spent working on it. I learned new skills on carpentry and painting that otherwise I would not have been given the opportunity to learn. I value the time spent working with the village as it provided me with a cultural immersion of St. Lucia and specifically, Anse La Raye.
“I am honored and humbled to know that when I leave Anse La Raye to attend to other earthly matters, I left a positive impact on the village.”
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