Shortly after arriving we were taken to the sports field and put together a dodgeball team. The first series of games ended within 2 minutes as the girls team of the school didn't quite seem as prepared as we were. After an extra couple of high action victories against the boys of the school, we proceeded into a game against the teachers. So this game determined the overall winner and the longest an individual game had lasted was around 10 minutes. That didn't last.
The game began slowly with people going out here and there but before I knew it, I was by myself against 4 of the teachers. Shortly after the initial panic, I was able to eliminate one of the teachers, gradually making it easier for me. Half an hour later of my own pure arrogance, children shouting my name and a lot of sweat and effort, we managed to lose. So we then had to play them again and after a much faster 10 minute second game, we actually managed to beat them and win the dodgeball overall.
Next was the bench ball which got a much stronger reaction than I expected. After winning the first game against the girls as the last player, I was swarmed by children trying to lift me up, resulting in lying flat on the floor. A few games later, we managed to defeat the boys and teachers, meaning we were actually able to win the 2 sports out of the 3 that we played.
A historic victory or 2 indeed! In the 4 visits to Bright Future School these are the first, we normally get thrashed at everything!
Today held many highlights for the group, from the discussion and reflection over dinner it was clear that they have gelled as a team, that they have each supported one another throughout the the week and that they have developed a deep understanding of the impact of education on the futures of young people. Each of them has shown compassion, care and kindness to the children and staff of the school and each has given their time to support the needs of the school, in large ways such as teacher training in phonics and science, to teaching them new sports, listening to children read, creative script writing and directing of plays and often just playing with them, giving them time and attention. When people have very little, even a little thing means a lot. Our Stoke Park students have gained in self confidence, have left behind their WiFi and technology every day and shown that they can communicate, that they can put themselves out of their comfort zone, that they can problem solve, that they are kind, genuinely thoughtful individuals and importantly, that they can work as a team. As I said last night, we in the UK have everything to be thankful for, I have a feeling these students will be showing their gratitude more frequently on their return.
Tomorrow will be an emotional day, the last chance to spend time with the staff and children of Bright Future, the last lunch made by Betty, but rest assured the legacy that this group is leaving behind will continue. Thank you to everyone who has donated to Bright Future School, whether that is on non-uniform day, at cake sales or the Fashion Show. The money has been put towards the repayment costs of their new minibus, which means that children from further away can be picked up in the mornings, that children don't have to walk home alone in the dark nights and that the sports teams can go to other schools for competitions.