I woke up very excited this morning knowing that I had a new adventure ahead of me. After four days in the Blue Mountains, we traveled into Kingston and we were getting prepared to help out at Allman Hill School. Allman Hill is one of the many schools around Jamaica that is aided by KBC Learning. We worked with the primary school students, which is 1st through 6th grade. The first thing that we did at the school was present the donations that we had brought to them. Three of us, me being one of them, stood in front of the whole school, more than one hundred students, and showed our supplies. The presentation was greeted with ooh’s and ahh’s from the students. This reaction definitely touched me because I really saw that these kids were truly grateful to have the supplies and that the materials really brightened up their day.
After the presentation, we split into our respective grades, which were assigned to us. I was assigned to the 5th grade class with Jessica and as soon as we walked in, the students stood and in unison said, “welcome visitors!” One characteristic of these children that I certainly noticed was the maturity and manners even at such a young age. Some of these kids are more mature than some of my classmates in high school and they certainly show more respect to their elders, which I think is a great quality for them to learn at such a young age. Every sentence that was directed at either me or Jessica was politely asked and followed by “sir” or “miss.” The children were very happy to see us, and we immediately got engaged in some fun games. The first day was strictly designated for fun and games which made the students even more energetic and excited. Jessica and I began with games with the whole class, but soon enough, I took the boys and she took the girls.
The boys and I played a great game of soccer, or football, and Jessica told me that she had fun with the girls as well. After only a couple of games, the 6th grade boys came out and asked to play as well. I was then on the court with 25 boys. The different part about these children was that even though they were full of energy and with all of their friends around, they were so easy to control because they had great manners and accepted everything that I said. I could often tell that they weren’t very happy with the ideas that I came up with, but they saw that their classmates wanted to do something, so they were open to the idea. This is something that sometimes I don’t even do but I think that because the children have less resources, their sharing ability is wonderful. Lunch time arrived and we had to leave the school. All of the children came to the bus and they were still screaming our names as we were pulling out of the school. It was a very flattering experience.
We then went on to the Jamaican Institute to learn more about Jamaican history and culture. Our tour guide took us to two exhibits in which we learned about the Jamaicans that fought in World War I and II and Tainos, who were the first inhabitants of this island. This was interesting because I did not know that the Jamaicans played as large a role in these wars and how some of the soldiers and pilots broke down racial barriers. After almost an hour there, the bus took us to the KBC Learning Center.
The KBC Learning Center was a small building that was mainly filled with computers. There are about 30 students that come to the center every day from 9 o’clock to 2 o’clock. We arrived a little bit after the school day was over so only 10 students remained. It was interesting to see the setting in which these students work because it was very different from our classrooms back at home.
Today was packed full of energetic kids, history and culture, and some cool down time at the end. The kids were lots of fun and I learned a lot from them even though I was only with them for two hours. I really enjoyed today because this trip is all about new experiences and today was certainly different from anything we have encountered.