At the end of our first work day we were laying on the dock as the crickets chirped beside us and the waves splashed below us. We gazed up at the stars reflecting on our first days on the island. As we talked, we realized that despite being from Boston, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, New York, and even France, we are all connected here by one common goal: to try and change the world.
Obviously a group of ten high schoolers can’t end poverty, cure cancer, abolish inequalities, solidify world peace, or educate seven billion people. However, Janier, one of the head construction leaders for the new classroom, was helping us lay the foundation when he explained, “You can’t change the world, but you can change the life of one person at a time.” We realized that even though we weren’t as fast at mixing cement, nor were we as knowledgable about building a foundation, it was simply them knowing that we wanted to help and that we believed in their success that has impacted the community the most.
This idea was reinforced after a particularly disorganized kindergarten English class where we tried to teach the highly energetic kids the names of fruits. We were walking to lunch with the teacher and apologized for our lack of success in teaching her class. She proceeded to explain that “we were doing more than we knew just by being here.” This reassured us and we went on to teach the first, second, and third grade classes with a different mind set and much more success.
After our long day of teaching endlessly enthusiastic children and working in the hot sun, we sat down in the dining room to play cards. We noticed a little girl sitting at one of the tables watching us, so, using our ‘highly advanced’ Spanish vocabulary, we invited her to come and play with us. Despite the language barrier, we were able to put together a game of go fish where many smiles, laughs, and cards were passed among the group. In the end, we realized that even though we may come from different places and cultures and even speak different languages, we were still able to connect and have fun with that little girl. We did not solve world hunger. We did not stop global warming. We only played a card game with one little girl and that was enough to change the world.
Maddy and Sarah