We began the day off with a great breakfast and the hotel and then took the bumpy car ride to Red Bank.
The scenery on the way there was enough to start my day off bright. The ride included orange and banana groves, a bridge over a beautiful river, and shades of green in the vegetation that simply seemed unreal.
When we arrived at Red Bank school we were greeted by the the principal, Ms. Elsa. She greeted us with open arms and we then went into the classrooms.
My group went into the grade five classroom and the students there stared at us with wide eyes and silence. After an introduction to the ISLP group and getting the students geared up for the day with a CARDS cheer, the energy of the room was less than thrilled, and I began to get nervous about whether or not we would be able to actively engage this group of students.
However, shortly after a game of telephone to learn about the senders and receivers in communication, the group had pulled a complete 180. The shy and nervous students had become active participants in the lesson, they were chatting happily with us and their classmates, and the smiles on their faces as we proceeded through the lesson was amazing.
When we finished the communication program and it came time to say goodbye, I was ready to skip lunch to spend more time with these kids. Several girls were inquisitive about my life and friends in the US, and as they repeated to me phrases like "so cool" and "that's awesome!" which I then realized were typical US phrases, and less universal, they taught me their native language equivalents, as well as how to say "I love Red Bank!"
I was lucky enough to return to Red Bank for the Justice Administration program that afternoon and was then greeted with cheers and smiles that made my heart swell. During their recess type break learned some new jump rope moves with the girls and how to play marbles with the boys. They were eager to show me their ways of having fun, but also so eager to learn.
I feel like I could write a thousand more things about this day but I'll wrap it up now.
Overall, it was amazing to meet these kids and get a taste of their personalities. I'm feeling very blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to be on this trip and a part of this phenomenal group. I can't wait for the next few days and know there are so many more memories to come!