BC students (PC years 35 and 36) at RaceRocks, taken by Mark Kelsey. Spring 2010.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Project Week: SaltSpring Island!

Imagine a week where you can go on adventures with some of your closest friends from around the world. A week where you are free to accomplish something you've always dreamed of: something challenging, unique, beautiful. Imagine the opportunity to hike in the glaciers or camp in the wild. Imagine meeting new people and learning about communities in a hands-on way. There was no need to imagine all of this at Pearson College because it was the wonderful reality of Project Week.

In late October Pearson students embarked on journeys they are sure to remember. Most projects are student-led and the options were incredibly diverse, although all fit into a creative, action, or service category. Some examples of what you could do: sail, kayak, hike, camp, read books at a host family's, travel to San Francisco or Vancouver, bike, volunteer, surf...and so much more. I truly believe that Project Week encompasses the ideals of Pearsn College and United World Colleges as it gives students the opportunity to learn from and experience the world in a very unique way. We learned to approach obstacles with an open mind, to work together in groups, to network and build bridges with so many organizations and places.

The project I chose was working with an organization called SOLID (SaltSpring Organization for Life Improvement and Development) on SaltSpring Island. SOLID works with African communities facing HIV/AIDS through a number of grassroots projects (eg. planting fruit trees, supporting education and a girl's shelter, nutrition). So when Project Week rolled around the four of us - Amirah from Malaysia, Levi from France, Hieu from Vietnam, and I - set sail for SaltSpring. We grew really close as the week went on and had a lot of fun together. It was an awesome time filled with many learning opportunities and unique experiences like:

- Our first night we were taken to a local birthday party in a beautiful hemp bale house (basically made of straw) where we enjoyed a fiddle jam session
- We painted, sorted, and nailed crosses for an art project that symbolizes the 8000 people who die of HIV/AIDS every day
- We attended a reception where we met representatives from several NGOs on SaltSpring in a beautiful home overlooking the ocean. All the people were so kind and warm.
- We met with the local global awareness club at the Gulf Islands Secondary School, as well as the "Knit Wits" - a group of elderly ladies who knit for Africa
- We worked at the SOLID exchange, a store that benefits projects in Africa
- We explored the beautiful island - went to a cheese factory (AMAZING goat cheese), a chocolate factor, a mountain, the town, a park...
- We helped to faciliate a Peace Tiles workshop with a local girl guides to make a mural
- We enjoyed Halloween by watching fireworks downtown
- We savoured every delicious meal that Shirely so kindly made for us (at her B&B, On Duck Creek). Shirley and her daughter Meron were so generous to let us stay for free and provided some wonderful food for us. Thank you!!!
- Saw the Olympic torch relay as it passed through SaltSpring
- Met so many lovely people and got to know each other better in a supportive and welcoming environment.

When I look back, Project Week was a phenomenal break where I gained many valuable skills, tools, and contacts. I had time to relax and rejuvenate and SaltSpring was the perfect choice. I'm grateful to Meron, Shirley, and SOLID for agreeing to take in 4 Pearson students and set up things for us to do. Project Week is definitely an idea that every school should put into practice!

All my love,

PS: I'll do a general update soon and upload some photos of PW.

No comments:

Post a Comment