Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chapter 2 - Our Final Week of Gap 2015

The Gapsters finished out their final week in Saint Lucia with flare! Being no strangers to the wide array of activities the Gap Experience covers, they navigated flawlessly between service learning projects, interpersonal dynamics, academic rigor, and adrenaline rushes.
Everyone Together at Dunnottar

Monday proved to be the most bittersweet of days in the Gap Experience. After two weeks of working with Dunnottar School, the Gap students spent their last day with all of the energetic students and staff. They were enlisted to help out with the school marathon—a two-mile run through the hilly streets of Castries.  Spirits and physical stamina were high for everyone involved. Abby and Mojo led the group in some warm-up stretches, and then it was time for glory! The race was a success! Some of the Gapsters cheered on the runners from various checkpoints along the route, while others buddied-up and ran with the Dunnottar students (some even ran hand in hand). You could feel the energy, excitement, and pride as each student--drenched in sweat and wearing a huge smile--crossed the finish line.  Soon after the last runner made it in, the Gapsters had to say their goodbyes—by far the toughest part of the day. The level of compassion that the Gap students extended to the students and staff at Dunnottar over the two weeks they spent at the school, working wiht the kids, was readily returned. It was a joyous occasion to see such a successful exchange betwee the 'giver' and the 'receiver'-- where both parties gain so much from each other! Certainly gives one hope for humanity again. 
Abby Leading Some Stretches
Matt and Chris Running Hand-in-Hand 
And They're Off!

Sam and Shakeem Saying Good-bye

On Tuesday, classroom and history collided. As part of their course, the Gapsters read the book, Neg Maron: Freedom Fighters by Micheal Aubertin. This historical fiction novel tells the story of escaped slaves trying to liberate Saint Lucia of military control. Where better to hold a class discussion of the book than an old military base overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the northern island neighbor, Martinique? Pigeon Island is a National Landmark in Saint Lucia. Although a causeway was constructed in 1972 connecting the island to the mainland, for many years this “island” was a key military base—switching control between the British and French numerous times.  As the Gap students discussed the various social and political themes of the book, they were sitting in the very same place  where the novel took place—an intriguing and powerful experience for many.
Class at One of the Military
Ruins at Pigeon Island. 

In addition to their academic growth, the Gap students grew interpersonally, as they honed their capacity to communicate effectively with one another. this was displayed during an activity called Zen Chair.  The students’ first exposure to Zen Chair occured months before during their Voyager Outward Bound experience. This activity is one that embraces constructive feedback, trust development, and mutual respect for each member of the team. Each student is asked to prepare a list of personal strengths and one growing edge for each of his or her peers. When a student is ready, they quiet themself and listen to all of the feedback one's peers have prepared to share with them—personal strengths and characteristics, and those areas in which there is room for growth. When done properly, the Zen Chair serves as a safe, constructive, and humble character-building exercise. The Gapsters participated in Zen Chair beautifully. The respect, compassion, and commitment they have for one another was exemplified during this activity. Who better to suggest how you can be your 'best self' than people with whom you have lived with for 3.5 months? People who have seen you at your best and your worst? People who care for your well-being and self-development? This activity served as a wonderful way to highlight how much each student has grown during the Gap Experience and encourages them to continue the growth once they return home.

As the week came to a close, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center became eerily quiet. Where was the laughter? Where was all the talk about the students’ favorite video game, Battle Cats? Well, truth be told, the Gaspters buckled down and hit the books hard. They were preparing for their final exam in the Cultural Imperialism & Hegemony in the Caribbean course—the last academic component of the Gap Experience 2015. They formed study groups; some studied as individuals—taking much needed ice cream and coffee breaks in between. Their focused efforts paid off: as they left the exam room, the students sighed relief, smiled, and said, “That wasn’t so bad. I think I did well.” …And they did do well as substantiated by Dr. Laura.

Gapsters Celebrating the End of Their First College Semester
To celebrate the end of the Gap Experience, the students traveled to the opposite side of the island, arrived in the rainforest, and geared up to do some zip lining! Their adrenaline got pumping as they flew down the longest and fastest zip line in Saint Lucia—800 feet of cable! Wahoo! The views of the forest canopy were breathtaking, and looking down to view the Dennery River was exhilarating.  Everyone had a blast and agreed that, “College is the best!”
Jake, Matt, Christian, Jack,
and Abby Ready for Adventure!
Abby, Kate, Nicole, Autumn, Josie,
and Morgan Excited for Zip Lining
Kate Coming Onto the Platform.

Leaving the island of Saint Lucia not only marked the end of another experience within the Gap Experience Program, but also the conclusion of the travel associated with the Gap Cohort 2015!  As this blog post is being written and published, all sixteen of the Gapsters have reunited with their families and are enjoying some much needed time back home. This, the final blog post for the Gap Experience 2015, is the closing of one chapter and the start of another—Chapter 2. Who knows what Chapter 2 will have in store? The only guarantees are that the path each one chooses will be different for each of the Gapsters. Yet, each of this year's Gap cohort most definitely has the confidence, courage, and mutual support to forge whichever path they choose.
Award Ceremony Presented By Abby, Kate, Autumn, and Josie on 
Our Last Night in St. Lucia

Boom, Clap. Go Gap!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Week of Thanks

This week the Gapsters continued to work in two groups--one building homes, and one visiting Dunnottar School and Upton Gardens Girls' Centre. A filling meal was enjoyed on Thanksgiving after a day of cleaning up the local beach. The week ended by attending house blessings for the two homes built over the past two weeks by the Gap students, Good News Project volunteers, and local Saint Lucian staff.

The crew readies themselves for Thanksgiving day... half going to the build site,
the other half going to clear up trash at the local public beach.

On Monday, the building crew from last week headed off to Upton Gardens to kick off their week in the classroom, as the remaining eight students began their building experience. After spending meal times with Pat and Mo and hearing stories about Reggie, Saint Omar, and Boi from last week's build crew, the new building team was eager to start on their building project. These eight students started their project by selecting an old paint shirt, a paint brush and getting a short safety lesson from Pat. Unfortunately Mo had to return home early, but luckily Saint Omar was able to step in and help the crew. The day consisted of cutting lumber and a LOT of painting (which may or may not have turned into a paint fight!). Thanks to Laura, Mo, and last week's building team, many of the house beams and ceiling boards were already cut, painted, and ready to go. This helped make the two days of painting shorter, which allowed the Gapters to escape the intense St. Lucian heat.

On Monday, the 'classroom' group went to Upton Gardens Girls' Centre where all of the students taught and played games with each other. The Gapsters taught the girls Pterodactyl and Ninja--two games popularized during Outward Bound--and the Upton students taught the Gap squad a few of their traditional ring games!

This week's build crew getting right to work on the roof!
On Tuesday, the group arrived in their paint splattered clothes and completed the finishing touches on the painting. Three coats of yellow paint later, the lumber was ready to be made into a home. The work day was a short one, because the all of the Gapsters seized the opportunity to go back to Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and watch the final production of The Ritual. This was a short play performed by six girls in the theatre program at the college, for which we had previously watched the rehearsal a number of weeks ago. We were all excited to see the final product and sit in on a question and answer section at the end.

Sir Arthur Lewis Community College puts on a fabulous production of The Ritual.
While the builders were busy working back at the Pastoral Center, the classroom crew was helping set up Christmas decorations and baking Christmas cookies at Dunnottar School. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday were spent at Dunnottar School and Vocation Centre with the excitable students. The Gapsters played games and taught social skills to the Dunnottar children . Each student of the 'classroom crew' was designated a Dunnottar class, in which to observe and teach. 

On Wednesday, Autumn and Christian were able to go with the kids to swim lessons at the local recreation center. Many of the Gap students were disappointed that they didn't have their swimsuits with them, because the Dunnottar kids looked like they were having so much fun in the pool! Later in the week, the classroom crew ran or walked with the kids as they practiced for their school "marathon." Some of the kids planned on walking the entire two miles, while others--some of the more ambitious students--felt like sprinting! Each Gap student was paired with a Dunnottar student to accompany on the marathon. Working at both Upton Gardens and Dunnottar brought out each Gap students' inner-child during the week.

Morgan Manthei reads with students at Dunnottar
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the build crew worked at the house site to get the walls and roof up. On Wednesday, the house building team began their day by loading up the freshly painted lumber into a truck and heading off to the building location. The build site was located at the top of a small hill. There was not a road going directly up to the site, so the crew had to carry all of the lumber and supplies up a trail. The path was muddy and filled with rocks, but the students were ready to take it on because of their experience portaging in the Boundary Waters! Once all of the lumber was carried to the site, the builders were ready to start constructing the house. The build crew had extra help this week from Savannah, the mother who will be moving into the home with her two children Jeremiah and Katara. Everyday Servanna and her boyfriend, Rafael, showed up eager to work and ecstatic about the continual progress on their new home. The students got the chance to learn more about Servanna's life and her children over peanut butter sandwiches and lemonade during their lunch breaks. After a week of sweat, hard work, and laughter, the new house was complete and ready to be made into a home!

Using teamwork to muscle-up one of the four house walls!
On Thursday--Turkey Day--most of the students woke up feeling a little homesick for their families and the traditions they celebrate on Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, the Gapsters soon realized that they would be spending Thanksgiving with a new kind of family, and that they have much to be grateful for. The day's activities began by picking up garbage at the local beach. Some of the rare finds included an old radio, bottles, and yes, even a cell phone. After cleaning up the beach, they returned to the Pastoral Center to begin cooking for the Thanksgiving feast that night. A few of the students prepared some of their very own family recipes including Kate's cranberries, Jake's stuffing, and Christian's calico beans! All of the students were asked by Laura to write down five things that they are thankful for and to be prepared to share those things with each other at the evening meal. Students arrived promptly at 6:00 pm, in their finest attire, and were joined by their Lucian friends, Saint Omar and Reggie, as well as the token Canadian--Pat. The kitchen crew at the Pastoral Center was kind enough to make chicken, mashed potatoes, squash, and many other treats to go along with the spread of Thanksgiving foods. After stuffing themselves, everyone read another person's list of five things they were thankful for, while the rest of the group guessed whose list it was. The night was filled with lots of laughter and lots of incredibly good food. The Gap crew was very thankful that they got to spend Thanksgiving with their second family at their home away from home.

Collecting trash at the local beach. They filled over 13 bags of trash!
On Saturday, the two groups merged back into one and ventured out to bless the two homes that the groups had built in the previous weeks. At the blessing, we presented the families with bread, so they never go hungry; water, so they never go thirsty; and salt, so that their life may be full of flavor. A short prayer and song was shared and then the students got the opportunity to talk and socialize with the families. First stop was the first build crew's house that is now home to Michelle and her four children. Second stop was at the second build crew's house which is now home to Servanna and her two children. Both Servanna and Michelle expressed extreme gratitude towards the students and The Good News Project for giving them a safe place they can now call home.

Michelle's House Blessing

Servanna & Raphael's House Blessing
Thanksgiving St. Lucian
Overall, this week revealed the many things the students have to be thankful for. The group realized how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads, a quality education, a supportive family back home, and a new family of Gapsters.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week Three: Construction, Upton Gardens, Dunnottar and More...

We started our week off with another successful writing workshop pertaining to our papers on Liberation Theology! After the writing workshop, the Gapsters parted into two groups. Eight of us spent the week building a home with the Good News Project, while the others ventured to Upton Gardens--a rehabilitation center for girls--and Dunnottar--a school for children with special needs.

Painting sure is fun!
Monday, one group was introduced to the experienced volunteer build-crew leaders, Pat and Maureen. After a brief safety lesson, Pat and Mo (for short) began molding us into a well oiled machine. We worked together as an efficient team in the backyard of where we are staying. Monday, as well as Tuesday, consisted of cutting and painting all types of lumber. That implies power tools! Pat and Mo gave us all a chance to use power drills and hand saws to prepare the materials for assembly. We ended the day with piles of brightly painted blue and white boards that soon would be hauled to the build site and assembled into a house.When Wednesday came around, it was time to start construction. We loaded up a truck with supplies and started our journey with another long-standing volunteer of the Good News Project named Reggie. As a local and skilled driver, he expertly navigated through the twists and turns of Saint Lucia's roller coaster of roads. When we arrived to our build site (after an hour in the van), all we saw were 8 concrete pillars on a steep hill. As a group we were a little nervous, but once Pat, Moe, and Reggie gave us some directions, we got the floor and three walls put up within one work day! The biggest struggle during the construction process was that the wood was extremely hard and the nails were very soft; so as we hammered, the nails would constantly bend, rendering them quite difficult to use. Besides that, each of us felt competent on the work-site, and we were pleasantly surprised when we were welcomed by local passers-by. One man even brought us some breadfruit--a local fruit that grows on trees here and tastes like potatoes after you cook it! We made the mistake of cutting open the breadfruit and attempted to eat it raw, until Reggie told us it was better cooked, so we made a small fire on the side of the road and cooked it, all the while still building the house! For a construction site, there sure were a lot of fruit trees near by. During our work breaks, we had the opportunity to try golden apples and coconuts!
Build Crew hard at work on the roof of the house
Thursday and Friday were our final days of building. Thursday we raised the final wall, and then put the roof on. That day we also had the opportunity to meet Michelle, the woman who will be living there. She stayed to chat for a bit and told us how she loves the color of the house and can't wait to see it finished. We learned that Michelle has several children who will be living in the house with her. As the day grew to an end, we threw on some music and danced in the dirt road for a bit to celebrate the building process. All the while, Reggie sang to us while he hammered the final nails into the sheet-metal-roof. Then Friday came along, which consisted of paint touch ups, installing windows, and hanging the door. After a week of hard work, the final project was complete and there was a new house for Michelle and her kids to live in!

Build Crew, nailing it!

While we began our building careers on Monday, our peers travelled to Upton Gardens Girls School. Upon arrival, they were given a brief overview of the organization and its history. Open for over 30 years now, Upton Gardens was founded by the Saint Lucia National Council of Women. The St. Lucian women's organization formed the school when they recognized that many young girls were being falling through the cracks, so to speak, as the economy shifted from agriculture to the service industry. This economic shift had a powerful effect on the family structure of many St. Lucians. Instead of having the flexibility to balance the demands of raising a family and harvesting bananas, once the economy shifted, mothers were not able to be at home with their children due to the 24-hour demands of the service industry. As the economy rapidly shifted from agriculture to the service industry, many working mothers took up jobs in local hotels and restaurants, which required them to work odd hours, day and night. Upton Gardens was started as an intervention program for girls on the verge of delinquency, due to the change in family structures. The school offers basic education classes, life skills training, and rehabilitation & counseling services to girls ages 12 to 16 who have behavioral issues due to neglect, abuse, or getting into trouble with the law. This organization serves a vital role in the community and is essential for girls who either go through, or are lost to, the court system. It is one of very few places in St. Lucia that offers guidance and support to an all-female student base. It is sad because before Upton Gardens, there was no help for the girls who needed it. Yet there were several long-standing government-funded support organizations for boys in tough situations.

After the briefing about Upton Gardens, the group made their way to go and meet the girls and women (graduated Upton Garden students) they would be working with. This group of Gapsters taught a process of making "up cycled" jewelry. Materials included leather cord and old bottle caps. The bottle caps were stamped with metal letter pieces, which could be used to spell out any word. Then these indented words were filled in with colored markers. Using a hammer and nail, a hole was made to insert the cord. The Gap students taught the Upton Gardens women and girls how to tie off the leather cord with a "slip knot." This type of knot allowed for adjustable necklaces and bracelets to the desired length. This jewelry workshop was designed not only as a fun activity for the current students, but also as a means to make some extra income for those who have graduated. The women quickly took to the notion that this "project" had potential for market value. It was inspiring to see how much creative flare and business savvy some of the women had!

During their first visit to Upton Gardens, the Gap students made comments on how shy the girls were: that they would barely answer questions and would not ask for help on the jewelry. When the group returned on Friday, the girls were much more excited and comfortable with them. Madeline mentioned the great conversations she had with the girls that day. They talked about many topics; ranging from music and piercings to school and their celebrations of Carnival and all of its facets. One of the most interesting details revealed during the chats with the girls was that of transferring schools to be near people they liked (i.e. if a female student likes a boy, she will transfer schools in order to be closer to him and to have a relationship with him). Upon hearing this, the Gap students were all surprised at the fact that this was a common occurrence on the island. This is just another example of difference in culture and how interesting it is to learn from listening to others.

Classroom Crew at Dunnottar School
 with some staff and students

During the middle of the week, the classroom crew travelled to Dunnottar School to build friendships. Upon first arriving, the students were surprised at the wide range of abilities of the children. They also took interest to how the students' behaviors were handled by the teachers. Dunnotar, being a school for the developmentally disabled, presented our peers with another cultural experience that not only opened their eyes to alternative education methods, but also the resources available to people who are typically marginalized. During the three days our peers spent at Dunnotar, they learned and embraced the importance of learning how to be flixible and adapt to different situations that may push them outside of their comfort zones.

Abby accompanying a 
student at Dunnottar School
Jake with a buddy!

While visiting Dunnottar School, the students participated in various activities with the kids, such as coloring, making paper airplanes, playing outside, and chaperoning a field trip to the local swimming center. They were also given the chance to volunteer in the classroom! Each student was assigned a classroom to join, and they assisted the teachers however they could--playing matching games, using shaving cream and dough to exercise fine motor skills, cooking, washing lunch dishes, hanging linens, working in the garden, etc.This classroom time gave the Gap students a chance get to know the students of Dunnottar on a one-on-one basis; thus, building new friendships everyday. As the Gap students learned in class, this act of getting to know and appreciate the unique personalities of each individual is known as accompaniment -- and it is exciting to put our classroom knowledge into action with the experiential component of our Gap Experience semester.
Jack and Matt learning from
the Life Skills class! 

After a week of being separated into two groups, all of us reunited for a day-long catamaran sail. It may have been raining all day, but nothing could keep the Gapster's spirits down. We saw a large pod of dolphins (30+), snorkeled among patches of fire coral, and soaked in the salty sea air. This was a perfect way to celebrate all that we did throughout the week.
Sailing in to the port of Soufriere'

Who could forget the bright colors of the Caribbean houses once you've seen them?!

A tropical paradise for most tourists, yet home for the locals

Look at those exhuberant faces: Kate, Mallory, Autumn, Matt, Jake, Alec, MoJo & Sam

And we can't forget the other side of the boat: Abby, Jack, Madeline, Morgan, Zach, Nicole, Josie, Sydney, Heston and Morgan P.

Autumn, Josie, Abby, Kate, and Morgan M. ready to set sail

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gapsters Working Through Some Tough Stuff -- Both Mental and Physical Challenges

Petit Piton in the foreground, Gros Piton in the background... We tackled Gros Piton!
It is hard to believe that we are already going on two weeks in this beautiful country of St. Lucia! Though many of us are still making time for the beach, this week has been filled with less time for play and more time spent in class and on visiting more organizations within the community. With that said, it is safe to say that this week has been "Oh so enlightening," to say the least!

The week began on Monday spending several hours in both the morning and afternoon in our meeting space at the Pastoral Center grounds.  The time was spent in a "writing workshop" -- critiquing and discussing the concepts of hegemony and cultural imperialism that we were to have written a paper about for the course we area taking down here. Dr. Fredrickson and MoJo, along with our peers, were gracious enough to give us all individual feedback about our papers. This process was greatly appreciated by all and helped many realize the importance of multiple drafts and taking the time for revisions.

Our first readings of the week had us thinking heavily about what the word privilege meant in the world, and what it meant to us individually.  Our discussions on these readings about privilege had us conclude that everyone has some sort of privilege in their life.  What we came to realize through critical reflection on our assigned readings for class is that we must first recognize the privileges that each of us has, and then the challenge is to accept them for what they are -- simply opportunities that others may not have. But the larger challenge is not to put on a lens of judgement and to move beyond thinking that due to our privilege, that we are someone 'better than' or 'more entitled' to opportunities and resources than others who may not have the same privilege as we. We spent some time discussing how the ego oftentimes creates superficial barriers between one and one's neighbor, which contradicts the idea of 'universal love'.

Wednesday we dove into one of the assigned texts for the course, In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez. In this book, we learned about many important theories and concepts, such as liberation theology -- a fairly radical concept first proposed by Fr.Gutierrez, that challenges us to return to the original message behind Christianity. This message is to carry out universal love for all people. This theory would continue taking shape in our minds throughout the week as we continued to discuss and deeper our understanding of related topics and ideas such as a preferential option for the poor, which in a sense is the action step behind liberation theology. A preferential option for the poor suggests that if we believe in, or at least can support the idea of 'universal love', we must then give preferential opportunities to those living in poverty. Additionally, we also learned about the idea of accompaniment, the act of walking with individuals, figuratively speaking, instead of leading them. We had many in-depth class discussions about these topics and the next step is writing a formal analysis paper regarding the book and terms therein. This week definitely covered some heavy topics but we readied ourselves to take this new found knowledge and apply it to future experiences!   

Heavy thoughts with Jason Joseph
To take a break from our traditional classroom setting at the pastoral center, we were given the opportunity to sit in on a few classes at a the local college! Yes, you heard right, more school! Upon entering Sir. Arthur Lewis Community College, we were in awe over the amount of people there and the vastness of the campus.  As we proceeded to our first class of Adolescent Psychology, we were met by the familiar face of our professor, Jason Joseph (our music/dance instructor from last week, when we visited the Folk Research Centre). The welcome we received by the students in the classroom was immensely comfortable, and we jumped into conversation right away.  As the class began, a number of us recalled various psychology concepts that we ourselves had learned from high school classes back in the states. The class flew by and before we knew it, we were on to our next class--drama. In this class, we were given the chance to observe a play that six girls had been working on, which is scheduled to be shown later in November.  It was a very impressive Trinidadian play called The Ritual that brought attention to several possible situations a pregnant teenager in the Caribbean might face regarding the reaction of family, religion, and others (along with the consequences associated with each).  We were all very impressed and also learned a little about the Rastafari religion which is common to some areas within the Caribbean. We learned that it is a set of beliefs that stems from Africa, and that those who subscribe to Rastafari typically reject the notions of materialism, oppression, and sensual pleasures, suggesting that this is what leads to the larger degeneration of society.

Abby and Christian "trying to cook"
Food equals happiness with Fortuna

What is a true cultural experience without trying some of said culture's traditional food? Not a very good one! That's why Dr. Fredrickson, signed us up for a class in traditional Caribbean cooking at the Folk Research Center! We were met by Fortuna Anthony, a native St. Lucian woman who had been cooking traditional Caribbean meals for many years, along with her son, Nicos, an internationally trained chef. First we were taught how to use the traditional Coal-Pot by placing charcoal (made on the
Fortuna explaining how a coal pot works
island) on the top along with some wood shavings to get the fire started, (pro tip, if you don't have wood shavings you can use candle shavings as a substitute!). The two dishes we made were beef and pork bouillon that many locals traditionally prepared on Fridays, along with the national dish of St.Lucia--salt fish and green bananas. Salt fish is usually cod or blue fish that has been cured in salt for preservation. At the time of preparation, the fish is soaked in water (multiple times) to shed the layers of salt. Both of our instructors cooked with an ingredient that is often lacking in the sterilized American food industries--pride. Fortuna and Nicos were proud in what they served, which made the dishes that much better! The pork tail in the bouillon was so tender it slid off the bone as you slurped it off the spoon, and the savory salt fish complemented the sweet green bananas perfectly. Those two meals were the best we had on the island thus far; and we would wager, they still will be the best upon boarding the plane back to the states! Lastly, Fortuna gave us an original copy of her cook books signed "To the Gap students. Happy Cooking!". Needless to say, Caribbean cuisine is coming back with us to Wisconsin!

Well done Gap-ster crew!

This week was not just classes. We also took on a physical challenge when we took the opportunity to hike up St. Lucia's famous Gros Piton, a volcanic mountain rising just over 2,600 feet above sea level. We all stood in awe at the intensity of this impressive and imposing mountain that rose up in contrast from the soft coastal hills that surrounded it. Upon starting the hike up the steep and bolder-riddled ascent, not all of us were sure if we would make it to the top. Nevertheless, about two hours after first stepping on trail, all of us, including 4 local guides, stood in triumph at the summit. The hike was difficult, but it was well worth it. The view from the top was breathtaking, leaving us void of the little breath we had left! We were left awestruck at the vast enormity of the world and how small we all are in comparison.
Feel like we are on top of the world!
The view half-way up the Gros Piton trail, looking out toward Petit Piton

Stunning views of the Caribbean sea and beyond!
On Friday of this week, we received a shipment of building supplies to help us get started on the two houses that we are going to build with the help of our St. Lucian friends. Hundreds of pounds of materials arrived and was not limited to, plywood, 2 x 4s, 2 x 8s, and corrugated metal. All the Gap students got to work! We organized ourselves expertly. A few of us hopped on the back of the truck to unload supplies, while the rest of us formed an assembly line to take the building supplies further up the lawn where they would be stacked for storage until we need them. The sun was very hot and the work was hard, but thanks to the teamwork, we made short work of all that had to be done!

The Gapsters hard at work getting ready to build
The Gap-sters reach beautiful new heights!