by Fo Wu, Grade 12 student
During Spring Break, 17 students, myself included, went to San Jose Del Cabo to work at a rural school by repainting their walls and teaching the students English. I could write about the beauty of the country, the kindness from the locals or the students’ genuine passion for learning, but I would rather share a few seemingly insignificant moments of my service trip that left a lasting impact.
It was two days before we had to leave Los Cabos. I was organizing our teaching supplies in a little room in the school when I heard someone whispering my name. A Grade 4 girl, Blanca, was standing at the door. She nervously peeked at the piles of book and called my name again. I walked out of the room and into the sun to meet her. Blanca raised her hand in front of me and I wondered what treasure she found that she wanted to show off. As she opened her fist, I saw a short, broken piece of chalk laying on her palm. She was asking me to draw her a picture on the floor (every day when I had some spare time I would draw something for the children on the floor). Her eyes were opened wide and focused on my face. She very softly, in a language she doesn’t know, asked, “Draw?” I nodded, and found it funny how shy she was to smile at me. But she was so excited to watch me draw for her. Before coming to Los Cabos, I could have never imagined anyone being so excited about something so small and being so shy to ask for it.
Los Cabos is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen. Countless beaches with nothing but sunshine, ocean waves and friendly people. The air was always moist with a salty smell that the wind carried in from the coast. The welcoming locals put on free performances downtown every night and we walked downtown almost every day after working at the school to enjoy it. The artistic atmosphere created by the interaction between the traditional and modern cultures was wonderful. The little town is packed with galleries and exhibitions of the local artists. And the stage at the center of the town was never empty!
While the city was an enjoyable place to visit, working in the school showed us another side of Los Cabos. We worked in a school that was lacking in resources and full of young children who leave school early to go home and work on their family’s farmland.
Despite this, I was amazed by their desire to learn. The students were always trying their best to be engaged in the class, even with the language barrier. I felt and understood the purpose of our trip when I was standing in front of a class and more than 20 pairs of eyes were watching me intently. Our service work only lasted 10 days but the goal of the trip extends beyond that. We want to stand together to change that situation and help ensure all kids have access to education or can have an improved education environment.
I will never forget my experience in Los Cabos. Everything about this service trip combined to create one of the most amazing memories I have ever had. The accomplishment we felt when we finished the murals, the laughs we shared with the children, the tears running down their faces when we needed to leave. It was a great trip, not only because I was able to hopefully leave a small mark on these kids’ lives, but more importantly because the children left a lasting mark on my life and truly changed my view of the world.