Today is our last in Barbados and I’m both ready to be home, but not ready to leave the kids. All we had planned for the kids today was the debugging exercises and for them to finish their projects. We did three debugging exercises and they got them pretty quickly. After the debugging, which probably took like 30 minutes, we had the students finish their projects. Mrs. Murakami and I walked around and helped the students with their projects. They didn’t need much help because they knew what they were doing.
Today the kids had injections at 1 for going to secondary school so coming to school was an option. Our class today had most of the students attending, but our old class only had two students. The two students, even though they already took our classes, came to our class so they could play around on the XOs. They got to further their projects and make new projects. The boy made several games really quickly and the girl tried to expand her story. I was helping her because her characters were saying their lines but at the wrong time so we had to figure out how to get them in order. Towards the end of class, everyone had finished and saved on the flash drives so we took group photos and tons of selfies with the kids.
When it was time to leave, a ton of kids swarmed us because they didn’t want us to leave. One was doing my hair while another had my phone and was taking selfies on snapchat. When we had to leave, they were all hugging me and wouldn’t let me leave and one girl started crying. I told them I would call them when I got back to Ohio and that I would add them on Snapchat. It was really hard to leave because they wouldn’t let me go. Finally, the principal could see me struggling and she told the kids to let me go. They obviously didn’t listen because they really did not want me to leave. I finally got loose and got to the car.
We had originally planned to go to the beach across the street and hang out there until dinner since it was our last chance for the beach, but we were all so tired that we just went to our room and all fell asleep. I woke up at 4 and we had planned to go to dinner at 5:45 so we could catch the sunset before dinner. It was a little cloudy so we didn’t see it too well, but it was so bright that it was still really pretty. We had dinner at Just Grillin’ and I got the Caesar salad with roasted potatoes. I think Colleen pointed it out that the portions are always so big and she was wondering if people usually eat all of the food because it was too big for us. It was a really good final dinner in Barbados; we all had either virgin Pina coladas or virgin strawberry daiquiris.
We each decided since we have to get up at 4am the next morning to leave for the airport, that we would just pull an all nighter so we could sleep on the plane and during our 8 hour layover. We all packed during our all nighter and either watched Netflix or just chilled.
Barbados has been such an amazing experience. Throughout the trip I had been comparing it to my previous trip with OLPC to St. John. The two different trips, though very helpful, were completely different. This trip was so much more impactful than St. John. This trip I was able to teach alone and really get a feel of what it is like to be a teacher. In Barbados, kids wanted to come to class and they wanted to learn and that made us all feel really special. We showed the two men that came from the ministry of education that you can teach young kids how to code; they didn’t believe that kids that young would understand. These men that came in are now rewriting the curriculum for all the schools in Barbados to include what we have taught (to include our curriculum). Our curriculum that we used was simple and fun for the kids. We taught them how to code through a game which made them interested in coding. I always explain to people who ask what we do in Barbados that the kids are coding but it’s hidden within a game so they’re having fun and learning. It was amazing to see how much they loved Scratch and how intelligent they were. I could see that not only by looking at their projects, but also that fact that they raised their hands and knew the answers. In a matter of only a few classes with each class, they fell in love with us and me with them. You could really see the impact that we made with them and how much they didn’t want us to leave. They even asked us to come back for their graduation which is June 24th, I told them that I would facetime them or call them. It was such an amazing feeling knowing that within only three classes with them, that we made such a huge impact. I know I keep repeating the whole huge impact thing, but I just feel so great about it. I really want to go back and visit them sometime because I already miss them.