The worldwide Augustana College experience

The Last Day Blog

After the great turnaround from the boys yesterday afternoon I became very sad at the thought of leaving the school and especially since Tara, Taelar, and I had agreed to have a play day. What our plan consisted of was to ask the boys to teach us some of the games that they play on a regular basis. All three of us are very much beginners at both soccer and basketball so the boys had a lot of fun teaching us the tricks of how to succeed at both of those games. We also taught a few of the sessions how to play kickball. Some groups were better than others but once they got it, it was hard to get them to stop playing. Of course Taelar may have a different story since she had a nice collision with one of the boys that left her chin split open a bit and a little swollen. We also tok some time to do a little bit of arm wrestling at the end of the day and I am regretting that as I’m typing because my right arm is extremely sore.

I took a small group to the basketball courts to play basketball and asked if they wanted me to teach them a fun game so that they had a new game to play once we left. The game I taught them? Pig. The boys loved it. They picked up on the game so quickly and even started to play strategically. If they were given the opportunity to choose the shooting spot they would do their best to make it from an area that the boy behind them couldn’t make. I also really enjoyed teaching the boys my favorite technique, the Granny Shot. One of the boys liked it so much I caught him doing it by himself later.
During one of today’s sessions we got the whole group to play a full out basketball game and I am proud to say that after fifteen years in retirement, I’ve still got it. I was the only one to score for my team besides one shot from Taelar so the two of us were extremely wiped from carrying our team to a win. So naturally (to the boys) to catch a breather we played a little bit of soccer. I was pretty timid at first but one of the bus kept telling me, “Don’ worry, jus play.” So I took his advice and did my best. I played a few years of soccer in my youth but it has been about 10 years since I have seriously played, but yet again I surprised myself. I shot a goal in just under the to of the net and had all the boys cheering for me. I think it’s safe to say my ego is going to need to be tamed after all of the luck I’ve had in our activities today.
After lunch the girls’ school put on a concert for us that included dancing and singing and a quick presentation of the history that began their institution. The concert was literally a tear jerker, both from laughing at my fellow classmates on stage trying to dance and the sentimental and inspiring words from the music and the speakers (including Dr. Egan’s gospel-like speech). It was so wonderful that the math group had such a great experience as that to cause such an uplifting ceremony for even me, who didn’t even spend any time on the girls’ campus.
Dr. Egan guided both vans around Kingston when we left to see some of the neighborhoods that the girls came from. Tivoli Gardens was one of the most memorable parts of our first book, The Dead Yard and being able to drive by it and see just how run down it was really astounded me. Reading it and making a picture in my own imagination was completely different from seeing it in person. But to lighten the mood our leaders took us for ice cream at Devon House where we had time to relax before now, where we are heading out to our last dinner in Jamaica.
This trip (although short) has provided me with more opportunities than anything I have been a part of, and in only 10 days. I have learned so much about myself, how brave I can be (jumping off a cliff and climbing into a waterfall cave), how patient I can be (dealing with the unruly boys at the school), and how thankful I am for the lifelong friends I have made on this trip. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to bring in the new year.
Peace. Love. Respect. Unity.

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