Every semester, one of the special things we do at The Island School is pair up with students at the Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) to work on community service projects. Every student gets a buddy, ranging from ages ten to thirteen. Last week we wrote an introductory letter to our DCMS buddies and since then we’ve all been very eager to meet them. Yesterday was the big day. At lunch we got letters that our buddies had written for us, and then around 1:15, our buddies came to campus. As the buses pulled in, we all stood in the driveway waving madly. When the students climbed out of the buses and we all circled up around the flagpole there was an air of anxiety and nervousness, but that soon dissipated as we found our buddies and introduced ourselves. The teachers had three stations set up with games and activities for us to play, and the energy of the DCMS kids was soon overflowing into all aspects of the afternoon. We played tag games and a twenty-questions sort of game, and we had three-legged relay races where half-way through, a teacher would ask each buddy questions about their new friend. Everyone – and I mean every single person – was smiling and laughing, more so than I’ve seen so far all semester. [slideshow] DCMS’s enthusiasm was contagious. For the rest of the afternoon, everyone was raving about how great/funny/cute/crazy/you name it their buddy was. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I can’t wait to spend every Monday afternoon for the rest of the semester working with and getting to know these amazing kids.
After our new buddies left yesterday, we all met up with our respective advisee groups. Some groups went exploring, some went snorkeling, groups did all sorts of things. My advisor, Gray, is a big fan of biking, so our group biked a few miles down the road to Deep Creek, the nearest settlement, and went to Henry’s to get these things called “cups.” Now, something to be noted about shops in small settlements the Bahamas; they’re not really anything like shops back home in the U.S. As we pulled up in front of what looked like somebody’s house, we were greeted by three scruffy but absolutely adorable puppies, and two friendly old women who told us to walk right on in. We followed Gray to a room in the back with a stand-up freezer, and picked out our “cups.” They’re basically home-made popsicles made in little plastic cups. There were two flavors, Tamarand and Passionfruit. I got the Tamarand, it was amazing. It tasted a little bit like honey, but with a little bit more spice to it. We asked the owners of the shop if we could leave our bikes, and we took our cups and went exploring for a bit before we had to return to campus. It was a very eye-opening day; it was a day that I got to spend interacting with the people who live in this beautiful place that I’m lucky enough to get to call home for a little while.