Monday, June 30, 2014
Sunday, June 29
Today was the first real day of down time for everybody. Saturday evening, we made sure all the kids made it back to their home stays after a long day of traveling to the fishing village, and left them to spend their first full day with their Bishops families. After a much needed lazy morning, I went out to do some errands with Michael (one of the Venture Uganda trip facilitators, native to Rukungiri) and ran into a bunch of Groton kids, out for a hike with their buddies. I was thrilled to see them – in fact, I was beyond thrilled to see them, for a few reasons.
Firstly, I miss the kids. Jim’s House is not bustling with laughter in the evenings anymore, and although adult time is nice, I have enjoyed getting to know these kids on a deeper level – being able to decompress with them at the end of the day, stumbling upon a spontaneous game of mafia, and watching them navigate this culture that is so foreign, so outside of their range of experiences, has been incredibly rewarding to me as an observer, teacher and learner of this adventure. Over the past two weeks, I have seen countless examples of why these global expeditions are so valuable – reinforcing why I was initially interested in becoming a trip leader. I often tell the kids that I work with at Groton that it’s okay to be uncomfortable – embrace the unknown and tap into your own resources to develop your threshold for adversity; adopt a growth mindset. This group of students has beyond impressed me with their willingness to explore the unknown, welcome the initial discomfort of something new, and develop a skill set in not only building resilience but doing so amidst a totally foreign culture. I find myself looking forward to the mornings, where we are reconnected with the kids and are able to hear about their home stay experiences.
Secondly, I was delighted to come across this roadside group (consisting of Angus, Tyler, Diva, Marie, Grace and Sunny) and notice that all of them were wearing broad smiles on their faces. I don’t yet have children of my own, but after stumbling upon these kids on the road, I have an inkling of how it must feel to be reunited with your child. I was comforted to see that they were happy, excited to be venturing off on a hike with their homestay buddies, and totally immersed in the experience. The group crowded around the van, all wanting to share something about their day thus far. It is these little tidbits that remind me what remarkable kids we have at Groton, and how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to work with them both around the Circle and also in an international context.
We are headed into our last week at Bishops, still preparing for the culminating festival that will take place on Thursday. I look forward to these remaining days, as we build off of the first two weeks in Uganda!