Hello, my name is Gabrielle and I am a rising 11th grader at a DC public school. I was a part of the LearnServe fellows program 2010-2011 and now I am a part of the LearnServe aboard program. This was my first time traveling out of the country and being on a plane that I can remember. I was super excited not only to leave the country for the first time, but also to get a chance to do some great volunteer work.
Today is the 4th day of out our 18-day trip and it is also the 2nd day of actually volunteer work. The places we went to were Scott’s Hall Primary school, The National Art Gallery, and the Marcus Garvey Liberty Hall Museum. Scott’s Hall is a primary school from 1st through 6th grade that we will be working on next week, creating a mural and organizing the library.
The school itself was similar to a one room school house; the classrooms were only separated by black boards. As soon as you walk into one of the classrooms you hear all of the noise from each of the different classes. We were given a small tour of the school and we got to see the principal’s office, the library, and each of the different classrooms.
The kids there were super cute, but they were all sort of shy so they would hide behind doors and peek at us. None of the kids came up to us except for one little boy, who took a picture with Marwa, Shade’, and Victory. The kids were all polite – they either waved hello or nodded.
After lunch we went to the National Art Museum which was very interesting. We had a wonderful tour guide who made us laugh quite bit. Unfortunately we had to leave before the tour was over, to get to the Marcus Garvey Museum on time.
The Marcus Garvey Museum is a museum about Garvey’s life, what inspired him, and what he accomplished. For those who are like me and have no idea who he was and what he did, Marcus Garvey is Jamaica’s first National hero. He created the UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association) and he was a leader of the Back-to-Africa movement. The museum also has an after-school tutoring program that has kids from all age groups.
When we got there we broke off into 3 groups: one for kids ages 7-9, the second group was ages 10-12, and the last group was ages 13 and up. I worked with Nicky, another volunteer who you’ll meet on our blog tomorrow, with the 7-9 age groups.
The kids didn’t have any work to do since the school year is ending this week, so we played games with them: hangman, a math game, and a gamed called Family Fiesta. The kids were very active – they kept on running and getting distracted – but they were sweet when they were calm.
Just as we were leaving the tutoring site the 7-9 year old students stood up and recited a passage that they memorized that sounded like a quote from Marcus Garvey. While I don’t remember all of what they said, there was one key line:
“You must remove yourself from ignorance.”
The words had came alive as the kids said them, I didn’t know if the kids had understood what the words meant but they were doing exactly what they were saying. They had come to an after school torturing place even though they were done with school.