We made it! After two years of planning, one “scouting trip” with Jim and Meg last March, and lots of preparation, trips to FedEx, phone calls, emails, class projects, and practice teaching, we are finally in Barbados.
Because of the flight schedule, we left Columbus yesterday and spent the night in Miami. It made for a long trip, but it was so nice not to be stressed about our delayed flight going out, and allowed us to arrive during the daylight today. We were driving away from the airport after having cleared immigration, customs, AND picked up our euro-sized van, by 2PM. (Far more efficient than the 40 minute wait we had at Miami’s baggage claim!) We picked up the laptops in Bridgetown from our contact person at the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, Charles Cyrus, and made it to our guesthouse by about 3PM. Met our host, Pete, unpacked and were enjoying the beach by about 3:30. It was a nice way to arrive. A bit of down time and cooling off before we met and prepared for our first day of teaching. Oh, and a brief stop at the grocery store to pick up some breakfast items.
We ate a fabulous dinner from Selina, the owner of Intimate Catering, who we later found out has her own cooking show, has her own CD of songs, and recently wrote a book! (Her dinner was amazing… fresh swordfish, chicken, plantains, salad and amazing macaroni and cheese, which is a Bajan specialty!) We cleaned the dishes and got to work planning our first day of lessons for tomorrow.
We will be teaching one group for three hours at a time! This is a huge chunk of time, which if well spent, will allow the students to really dive in to their projects. If it’s not well managed, it could easily devolve into chaos. So we worked really hard to make sure to have engaging activities with mini mental breaks so to stave off monotony. Hopefully it will work. I can’t remember a time when I had to teach a three-hour class with only one break! Yikes!
I’m really glad to have Shea around. One of the things I’ve been wanting to work on is getting better blog posts from the girls, so I asked her to help out with ideas. She asked whoever is blogging today what are they excited about or nervous about. Brilliant! (Why didn’t I think of that!?) So, I’ll answer her question in this post.
I’m excited that we are here. I’m so glad that the pieces seem to finally be coming together. That the house is as great as it is, that the caterer is as nice in person as she was in emails, that the food is amazing, that we are in what feels like a safe neighborhood, that our host is really taking care of us, that we are getting support from the school and the central office, and that these students, the CSG girls are super committed to their task here.
I’m nervous about the school day. Will we have a projector? Will the little ones manage OK in a 3-hour class? Will the teachers have ideas about what kind of project they’d like their students to work on next week? Will the CSG students command the attention they will require in order to effectively teach? Will the Bajan students like what we’re teaching? Will we meet the central office’s expectations for class time well-spent? So many things I’m still worried about, but if I know CSG girls, they will absolutely rise to the occasion and be fantastic. They already did it tonight.
Below is a picture of the three girls on our evening beach visit.