Dear Parents, Family Members, and Friends,
WOW! We cannot believe that 20 days ago you let us take each of your students with us around the world. It feels like yesterday that we were taking our first group picture at the airport and waving teary good byes to all of you. And, if we’re being completely honest, there was definitely a moment at the beginning of the trip where all of us wondered what on earth we had gotten ourselves into – 21 days all together? No warm water? And for the kids – no internet?! There we all were, a little wary and very far away from home, and with no other option than to jump outside of our comfort zone. So, we jumped.
There are many little moments from this trip that I will hold onto for a long time – the first day out where students walked on top of the cathedral and were giddy with the views, the first time they had to interview complete strangers in Spanish for a reality challenge (they were so nervous!!), the dinner they spent at the Comidor pounding their fists on the table and screaming about Nicaraguan politics in an impromptu debate. I will also remember all the moments of pure, unabashed FUN. Your students have danced up and down the aisles of the bus too many times to count, played “Honey, I love you” until they couldn’t stop laughing, splashed around in the ocean, and laughed and laughed and laughed at who knows what.
I’m also going to hold onto the moments of challenge that led to real growth on this trip. Students felt the sting of failure on their first day of English tutoring, and they had to dig deep to understand the problem, work together, and overcome their humility. Students got overwhelmed when they had to Work Like a Local or Live off a Dollar a Day and had to remember why they were here in order to push through. Students missed their families and the comforts of home. Students had to fail and then try again to learn to work like a team.
My ask of all of you parents, family members and friends, is that when your students return, ask them as many questions as you can about this trip. Listen to all the funny stories and happy moments. Then dig even deeper. Ask your students about politics, and how the generational gap makes it difficult to make policies that benefit everyone; ask them about schools and if they see education in its current state in Nicaragua as a barrier or support for the nation; ask them about culture and poverty and language; ask them about teamwork.
I promise you’re going to like what you hear. Your students have all had the most amazing conversations over the course of this trip, and all of them have fluctuated between moments of clarity and moments of healthy confusion. Our greatest hope is that all of our students continue to have these conversations from this point onwards, and continue to share as much as they can about what they have learned here with their Rainier and Tahoma communities. We want them to keep talking about what it takes to change the world.
We cannot possibly end this blog post without a very big THANK YOU to all of the parents for giving your students this opportunity. We’re all looking forward to showers that don’t turn off in the middle, air conditioning, comfort food, (and some peace and quiet!!), but we have all truly learned on this trip. We cannot wait to see you all tomorrow night at 12:10AM at SFO (flight AV0560)!
Ms Kim and Ms Goddard