July 4, 2013. We finally finished building the playground from old tires for the students of Allman Hill Junior and Elementary School. It ended up looking colorful and amazing. I ended up waking up late today so I was running around everywhere trying to get ready for breakfast on time.
Once we got to the school we were asked to go into a classroom where we were greeted with a thank you program from the students and teachers. Then one half of us were responsible for occupying the children while the others were doing their part in painting the remaining tires. I spent some time with the kids at first but then went over to the playground where I started helping to paint the playground tires. There was a lot of free time in between painting and finishing construction on the jungle gym so most of us went to play with the kids.
During lunch we had jerk chicken and festival which tasted like funnel cakes. After lunch there did not seem to be much progress due to the arrival of so many construction men; it seemed to halt our efforts in assisting in the construction of the playground. After several hours we finally finished painting the jungle gym, but then we were left sitting around waiting for further instructions.
During the painting of the playground it was also the dismissal of the children for their first days of summer break. While some painted some of us had the opportunity to say goodbye to all the kids we grew attached to. Once the goodbyes were finished we made the finishing touches on the playground and waited around for the arrival of Mr. & Mrs. Bennett. Some stayed in the sun and took pictures, but I retreated to our bus where I took a 20 minute nap before Mr. & Mrs. Bennett came by and gave us our review.
Once they arrived they explained to the group about the work ethics and expectations about working in a developing country. Mrs. Bennett explained the cultural differences and the hardship for some of the men to accept help from children in such hard labor. Once the debrief finished we stayed for another hour finally finishing up the swing set. Some mixed cement and filled up the holes to stabilize the swing set. During the middle of the mixing it started to rain so I quickly went back into the bus. Others, more dedicated than I, stayed outside and finished mixing the concrete and finished up the swing set. After congratulations we took pictures and headed home for our last night at the Bennett’s before departing to Source Farm.
Once at the house I quickly went upstairs and changed into my bathing suit. After swimming around and cooling down I took a quick shower. After my shower dinner was ready so we all gathered for our daily dinner. As the kind people the Bennetts are they prepared a fourth of July dinner just for us. We had hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken, corn on the cob, string beans, breadfruit salad, and coleslaw. And like always it was an amazing dinner. After slowly eating and chatting we were surprised with a cake which we happily ate before running off to the basement.
As tired as I have been all week I once again fell asleep in the basement, but after waking up for reflections I was energized once again. After packing up and cleaning up we finally got the chance to finish our day with a movie.
Mahlet M., Wheaton High School