Today was our last day of English camp at Project Esperanza. We haven’t said our goodbyes yet, because we are going to the beach with our campers tomorrow. However, we spent a lot of time tonight discussing and reflecting all that we learned by teaching English this week. It is difficult to articulate all the spoken and unspoken lessons that we learned! Some of our students wrote their reflections after a such a full week. They are shared below.
“It is easier to leave an impact on someone’s life than you think. If you remember, you will be remembered.” Davis Mathis
“I need to remember and appreciate where I am from. I’m lucky to be born in America where I grew up with an education and a house. The kids here go to school to take a break, where in America, we don’t want to be in school. After I come back to America, I need to remember the poverty in Haiti and the DR and remind myself of what I have. I also need to give back in anyway to the kids in the school and the community. I need to constantly remember the trip. I also need to respect my teachers, family, and my belongings.” Ben Crawford
“Tonight, we talked about the differences between our lives and our campers, and the discussion was amazing. Our ideas on everyday life are so different from those in the DR…such as an education and its purposes. We at Pace have high expectations to get great jobs one day…while they just want to get any job at all.” Evan Duncan
“I can’t believe that after tomorrow I’m not going to see all of these little kids again. As hot and tired as I am at camp everyday, I am going to miss hearing the kids shout,”Mira! Mira!”, or telling me long paragraphs in Creole and assuming I will understand. When I look at them, their faces are so full of hope (or “Esperanza”). I hope that they will learn, hope that they will grow up to be successful, but most prominent is just the hope that I will be their friend. When I am dusty and tired and frustrated, they are still smiling like they are having the time of their lives, and truthfully it is because they are.” Abigail Lund
“Amalie, the little girl who kept hugging me, was one of my favorite parts of camp. She was so cute and really nice. I’m going to miss her when I leave camp. She kept waiting for me after class and before camp. While we were at camp, I realized how many things I have. Most of the kids have almost nothing. I have so many excessive things. One of the things I was asked a lot at the end of the day was if there was any water. In the US, if I’m thirsty, I walk over to my personal bathroom sink and get as much clean water as I want. None of these kids can do that…something as simple as water can be a luxury here.” Emma Shelton
“This place taught me that I can love without a plan. I have kids that are a part of me that will stay with me forever. I am in a place that actually needs me. I’m needed here – not by my parents or my friends. These kids need love, and I will give it to them. I do not understand how I did not realize these places existed before I came here. It is my goal to get back here and make a difference. Every child in camp, as well as every person in the United States needs love. The United States needs me to shout at them the problems here. I need to come back for them and for me.” Molly Buffenbarger
“I want to cry just thinking about leaving my favorite three year old tomorrow, because I might never see her again.” Isabel Battista
After the pool, we headed for a very healthy meal of pizza and ice cream. 🙂 There was a playground at the restaurant, and we all had a blast acting like little kids with our buddies. We also exchanged our buddy gifts. It was a great way to end such a full day!