*Please note: This blog will include both the 15-day and 22-day student groups, as the two groups are together up until day 15. After day 15, we will send a new blog link to the families of the 22-day students.
Saturday July 7, 2018
All students have arrived! This photo includes students from both the 15-day and 22-day sessions! Stay tuned for more updates on our Guadeloupe adventure!
Sunday July 8, 2018
Bonjour from the GLA Guadeloupe Pioneers!
The official day 1 began at 6:45am with a delightful breakfast of baguette, beans, eggs and juice. Following breakfast, our troop of 30 made our way over to a beautiful park overlooking the sea and the Ilet du Gosier. A long morning of orientation left us excited for lunch.
After our meal, we prepared to go and accomplish our afternoon activities. Our bus first took us down the long winding roads, straight to the beach. the water was warm, and the sand was a pure white powder. Following our beach time, we met our local director in Guadeloupe, Florence. Florence planned a scavenger hunt through Le Gosier which refreshed our French minds, as well as introduced us to some of the interests of the town. The scavenger hint ended with a rainstorm and us entering the school where we would take French lessons. We took a short test and then sat in groups discussing motivational quotes. By this time, many were exhausted with the day and were looking forward to dinner.
We arrived back at E. Gwada hostel with some time to spare, and then we dashed through the rain to dinner. Our night ended with us listening to thunder and the humming of mosquitoes as we fell asleep.
Official Day 1 in Guadeloupe was quite the adventure, as we experiences much of what is a part of life on this beautiful island.
– Piper S.
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Today was the first day of community service at the local garden, Jardin Alexina. Our day began bright and early at 6:45 for breakfast. Fueled for the coming hours, we hopped on the bus and arrived at the garden around 8am. We were greeted by the kind owners and the mooing of the nearby cow. We energized ourselves with a quick game of “wink murderer” and proceeded to take a tour of the gardens. However, before the tour, everyone made sure to keep their WITS about them: Water, Insect repellent, Buddies (even though it doesn’t start with a “t”), and Sunscreen.
The gardens were gorgeous! It wasn’t the typical garden located just on a flat piece of land, but it extended on a hill and the two flat plains above and below the hill. There were mango trees, aloe vera plants, breadfruit trees, and a “tree of life,” and even bee hives. There were many more species and the garden felt like its own ecosystem. It was amazing to learn about all the uses of the plants and discover natural growth that provided medicinal aid.
Après, we separated into groups and helped weed, pick up leaves, rake, shovel, and whatever else needed to be done. Though the work was hard and accompanied by many water breaks, the progress we made in four hours was fulfilling.
Around noon, we headed back to the E. Gwada hostel and ate a hearty lunch to prepare us for the four hours of intensive French lessons. The four hours were spent practicing grammar, learning tenses, speaking with each other, and having fun wile learning another language. French was followed by another hearty meal and then lights out around 10pm. The long but rewarding day opened our eyes to what hard work can produce in the community, both through service and language.
– Greta H.
Students having fun in their first French class in Guadeloupe!
It was an amazing thunderstorm when the tropical storm Beryl came through Monday evening. The open patio and our beautiful view made a stunning backdrop for our evening conversations during mentor circles!
Students are having a lot of fun getting to know one another at our hostel during their free time!
Our first day of service was a hit! Students watch as our very knowledgable guide cracks open an almond pulled straight from an almond tree growing in the gardens. The gardens are used to teach local school children about the many local plant species, and our students will be helping to repair structures damaged by the hurricanes of last season, the most important of which was Maria.
Wednesday July 11, 2018
Today, we again got up at the ungodly hour of 6 in the morning. We had breakfast inside the hostel, then prepared to go to French class. My class was pretty fun! I have realized idioms are really weird things, which we never think about really. They don’t make any sense. After four hours of French class, we came back for a lunch of spaghetti with meat sauce with a veggie salad.
After lunch, we went to the slavery memorial. We all had headsets for personal guided tours. Recordings played based on where you were in the museum. Very high tech and cool! I found it particularly interesting because it talked about slavery throughout the world, not just the US, both hundreds of years ago and modern slavery. It was a very powerful museum.
Afterwards, we wandered the streets of Guadeloupe, getting our first real look at people’s lives on this island. I loved it. We stopped by the market, and although it was closing, the souvenir shop was still open, and many of us got several somethings for ourselves or family. We then walked to a gelato shop for ice cream. It was delicious!
We had dinner (chicken, salad, and zucchini), then Mr. André, the director of the French school, came to talk to us about the English Camp where we will be doing our service tomorrow. I myself was rather anxious to do this part of the program, but he helped. We ended the day in mentor groups and talked about the museum and slavery. And now, we are all getting ready to sleep.
– Alyssa U.
Thursday July 12, 2018
On Thursday we went to our first school to play with the kids. We taught them games in English, such as duck, duck, goose, Simon says, and musical chairs. Not only were these games fun for the children, we taught them bits of English. We were there from 8-11.30am, and we spent the entire time laughing and playing games. As we were leaving, some of the kids ran out to the bus to say goodbye. They were very sad we were leaving but overjoyed to hear that we were coming back on Monday!
-Anish, Bruna, Julianna, George, Pheobe, Maeve, Harper, Kaitlyn, Grace and Aarti.
Sunday July 15, 2018
Students in Guadeloupe have continued to experience local culture in the last few days through snorkeling, a cooking class, and community service.
“Sunday, after some much needed sleep, we got up for breakfast at 7:45. We ate quickly, got ready, and headed off to what had definitely been the most anticipated day of our trip: the snorkeling excursion. Our one hour road trip to Basse Terre flew by, and when we arrived on the black sand beaches you could feel the excitement in the air.
Once on the beaches, we split into two groups. One group went snorkeling first while the other group stayed behind and enjoyed the beach. Then after an hour of snorkeling fun, the groups switched. But, whether you went first or second, every student got to experience the delight of snorkeling.
Afterwards, we enjoyed pizza, the beautiful beach, the World Cup final, and an array of little beach shops teeming with souvenirs. Tired, sunburned, and happy we then returned to the hostel for dinner and bed.” -Ella E.
For many students, Sunday was their first time snorkeling! They were enthusiastic about the colorful fish and the beautiful coral.
Monday July 16, 2018
Monday’s community service at the English camp was followed by a quick French lesson and a cooking class!
“We attended a french cooking class where we made three different unique french creole dishes. We made a pineapple cake, a squash tart, and a pasta. We used french cooking terms and everybody had a good time with the chefs. Afterwards we all enjoyed the delicious dinner we made at home base.” -Anna B.
The group is looking forward to meeting locals and learning more about Guadeloupe for the rest of the week!
Photos will be added tomorrow when we have better WI-Fi at the school!
After receiving our daily announcements at breakfast we hopped on the bus to go to our community service at Jardin Alexina. As soon as we arrived to the garden we split into two groups. One group was teaching English and playing games with the local children. The other worked on repairing the greenhouse in the garden and rebuilding some stairs.
After this, we headed back to homebase for lunch. Instead of having our usual 4hrs of French class, we were pleasantly surprised with a trip to the beach. The water was very clear and the weather was beautiful. We saw many interesting animals including small crabs. We later came back to homebase for dinner and then we had a whole group debate on the rights of the aboriginal people of the wet tropics in Australia. It was interesting hearing different perspectives.
Friday July 20, 2018
Our community service today involved cleaning up a beach and learning about mangroves. We learnt a lot about their importance to the environment, and how they are now threatened. They are polluted by the trash that accumulates around these areas.
In addition to learning about mangroves, we also learnt about species that live in those habitats, such as crabs and termites and their contribution to the environment. Some of us even decided to taste some termites which are very rich in protein! After lunch, we attended a Gwo Ka performance at a school where we all danced and sang to the music of the drums. The dances were very energetic and soulful.
The performers also told old creole tales of which its origins dates back to the 1800’s. Later, we went to an artisanal market where we bought lovely souvenirs and then headed to the beach. After dinner, we took part in an ‘appreciation circle’ activity where we shared our thoughts and feelings to each other and it ended us all in tears (happy tears) as our time in Guadeloupe has come to an end.
-by Jules, George, Bruna, Maeve, Harper, Pheobe, Anish, Kaitlyn, Grace and Aarti