Posted: November 16, 2017
This morning began by piling our group of ten into the SFS vans to head to a nearby school. On the way there, I remember thinking how I should have had a coffee before we left. Between starting DR training and arriving late the night before from a weekend away, I realized I hadn’t thought much about what to expect from this outreach.
The school was a single classroom made up of seven students, so even with only half of our own students present, we outnumbered them. We started with a short activity to teach the kids about recycling. After this, it was time to get our hands dirty with some garden work.
The kids changed out of their uniforms and we headed outside to start with the flower beds. With my work-in-progress Spanish skills, I worried that I would struggle connecting with the students. This wasn’t the case at all. We each were paired with a student, grabbed a shovel, and started digging. I worked with a boy named Alexander, who quickly found out that he could scare me by sneaking up behind me with worms he found digging in the mud.
We took turns digging the holes for the bed to set in. When they looked deep enough, it was time to test it out. Turns out, we didn’t measure the distance between holes very well. Everyone broke into laughter as we realized that we just spent 20 minutes, sweating in the sun, only to have to redo everything we just did. We left that morning with two finished flower beds (and two broken shovels to go with them, whoops). At my home institution this type of opportunity is rare. This is just one of many experiences where we get out into the community, practice our Spanish, and drive home tired, but feeling accomplished.