MAAP STARS stands for Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs Self-Esteem, Team Work, Achievement, Reconignition, and Success. In the MAAPS STARS class we learn some things along the lines of interviewing, advertising, and public speaking. Kelli, Katie, Trevin and I, Allie, were given the option of picking team events for the competition. We choose to do service learning Imovie project. First we gathered information on how much service learning we have done this year. Then we put together a plan for the Imovie. Finally we took pictures and put together the movie you see here. It was a long process that we learned from and it was fun. We had to change the movie many times and edit it to get it right. (thanks Kelli) But in the end it turned out good. We learned how to make better movies and change our projects to fit criteria. Now the movie will be displayed here, on youtube, and on CTN. It also will be sent to Minnesota Dept. of Education.
We have been working on a food drive for our class. Our leaderboards have been showing that many people have actually brought in food. Right now an advisory that is Brandi's is in the lead by about 30 points. This food drive ends on 3/6/2012. We need as much food as people are willing to give. We are encouraging the students at North West Passage to donate, so that one advisory who donates the most stuff, will be able to take the whole day off to go to the MOA.
Our class visited the Minnesota Literacy Center (MLC) two times in the last week. The literacy center offers classes to immigrants that need to learn English. We volunteer to help the students learn English. To prepare for our visit to the center we played games that helped us learn how to express something with very little words or just by using body language. This is important to learn because the students don’t really understand what we’re saying unless we talk slowly and with as little words as possible. While we are there we have to make sure that we speak clearly and slowly because many of the students are new to English and we don’t want to confuse them. We also have to remember to use our manners and be open to answering questions. Both times we visited the center we talked to the students about food. We did this because the students are familiar with food so they would have a better understanding of what we were saying and they would learn how to pronounce things better. Visiting the center is beneficial to us because we’re learning how to be more open minded to people from other countries and we’re learning how to be leaders by teaching people new things. Its beneficial to the students we’re helping because they get to experience different voices and they learn new things. Altogether the experience is fairly enjoyable to everyone included.
At Second Harvest Heartland we took the Northwest Passage High School bus down to Minneapolis and arrived at a warehouse building where we got off the bus and went inside and was welcomed by the workers and had a quick talk about what we were going to do. They had gotten a donation of 30,000 pounds of potatoes and needed us to sort potatoes from good or bad. These potatoes were going to be sent out and given to local food shelves to be given out to families. After the talk with the first man we were handed off to the second man who walked us to the back of the warehouse where we met Gary, the man who was going to watch over our work. He taught us what we were looking for in the potatoes. What they looked like good and bad. Then were separated and went off to our own boxes with groups and started to work. Most of the potatoes were okay and what they called 'good'. And what were bad. Honestly I wouldn't have ate any of them, not that they were bad on the inside. They just looked gross on the outside. Groups quickly finished working on one box and started their second. For the hours we were there we it was long and tiring. All the standing and throwing and bending and reaching was some work but it was nice and I feel good about doing it and helping the families in need.
A few hunger facts..
"1 in 8 Minnesota children lives at risk of hunger."
"Hungry Minnesota families miss 100 million meals each year."
"9.5% of households in Minnesota are food insecure and will struggle to find enough food this week. This equates to 1 in 10 households, many with children."
Our expedition group ( Deb, Jason, Alyssa, Caitlyn, Travis, Anthony, Liz, and Zach) left NWPHS shortly after school on Thursday. After a four hour drive to North Dakota and a meal at "the home of the bison burger", we stopped for the night at a local hotel. We had a little group time, where we discussed logistics and learned more about each other. Next morning, after a delicious Continental Breakfast, we headed to the nearby JCPenney parking lot to meet the bus that would take us to the sandbagging site. After being equipped with gloves and leis, we began work, shoveling sand in bags and stacking them. We were moved, however, not long after, to the "octopus", as we fondly called it. It is a piece of machinery with spouts coming out in all directions. It is placed next to a big pile of sand. The sand moves up a conveyer belt and is sifted out through the arms. Under each spout is held a bag, that when full is handed to the next person. The next person twists it close and uses a cool wire gun to tie it off. Then the bag is stacked on a pallet, with about 100 bagsAperture pallet. A few common mishaps included the wire guns jamming or running out, or bags not getting on the end of the spout fast enough (which resulted in a spew of sand all over the table), and a pile-up of bags as we waited for the forklift to come and pick up the full pallets. But it went well as a whole. Our spirits were kept high by the short, albeit many, impromptu singing and dancing sessions . It was surprising to see how many people were there to help out. The community here really comes together to help with the flood prevention, with volunteers from the local schools to inmates from the Cass County Jail. They also received quite a bit of help from their neighbors here in good ol' MN. One thing learned was information about the flooding itself. Many of us weren't even aware that flooding was a major problem in Fargo. A few of us have resolved to return, should they need any future help sandbagging.
As we walk down the streets of Guatemala for the last time I can't stop thinking that I am James....James Bond and I am here on a secret mission but I am not James bond I am Sargent Cudd with his Northwest Passage cavalry and were here on a service trip with our amazing school. It's our last full day here in Guatemala and as I look back on our trip I laugh at all the great moments we have had together and when I say great moments I mean when everybody is opening up and as Cate would put it "Letting our freak flags fly" It's cool to see everyone evolve from day one where every one was quiet and our school personalities where still on and now on day 9 we can act as weird as we really our and our fellow class mates do the same and we have a great time making a fool of ourselves in front of all kinds of people here in Guatemala and we can do that because we are a close group of students. As I always say after going on a trip or have a class with someone at Northwest, you become family. I believe our school is a close family just like all the people working at the mission are a close group that works super hard together. After coming to the San Lucas mission and taking our tour and seeing all the stuff we were going to work on we put a little dent on the work load for them and I feel really accomplished just for that and I feel that we helped at least one person being there helping them. It's getting late for Sargent Cudd and cavalry so this is me signing off.
Our students started the trip with Spanish skills ranging from "poco" to "poquito." We have had lots of practice speaking with Mission staff, vendors, drivers and people around town. It has been really rewarding for me to see students venture out of their language comfort zone to communicate by any means necessary - sometimes including a mix of Spanish, Spanglish, gestures, facial expressions, and pointing. Some of them who used to rely on me or another translator are now comfortably interacting with locals. They have have picked up many new words and improved their grammar. Most importantly, they have broken down the language barrier and been able to chat and laugh with people from another culture. This can definitely make the work day go by faster, and makes us feel less like tourists and outsiders, and more like friends and collaborators.
This is our last working day in San Lucas. The novelty has worn off, homesickness has shown it's effects, mildly, the blisters and muscle soreness are on the rise, and consequently the value that our students are placing on this trip is increasing. Yesterday we broke rocks and hauled dirt out of a hole seven feet deep that has taken three months to get that far, it needs to go another 15 feet in order to provide a safe septic system that will not over flow and further contaminate the drinking water in the rainy season. We are moving rocks to provide a foundation for a needed road this afternoon, and two of our students will be working with a medical team to provide care and distribute dietary supplements, malnutrition since hurricane Agatha hit last year is on the rise, the price of vegetables has quadrupled. It is 6:00, and as I sit here on the street I can see women starting to gather at the grinders so there will be tortillas, men with machetes are heading up into the mountains to harvest crops from fields a two hour walk away. This is what one sees in the news, and reads about in National Geographic. This is what our students here are feeling. They want to go home, but not yet. So, how do we bring this back? That will be on our minds today as we complete our portion of this unfinished task. Thank you for the opportunity. CH
Guatemala has been one of the best experience I have ever had. From riding in tuk tuks with Cody to working long labor intensive days. We have all grown closer and have been able to share ten different perspectives with one given situation.
Today Chiniqua and I accompanied the medical students to provide care for a local village. Before we left we all gathered in front of the mission to cram 15 people in the back of a pick up truck, similar to a can of sardines. On top of that we had 8 duffel bags full of a miniature pharmacy, supplies, and other essentials needed for the day. We start towards the village through the long and windy mountain roads doing close to 50 mph while bumping into each other like pro NHL players. After many twists and turns we arrived at a small river, which posed a challenge to the Ford pick up we were riding in. There we were almost stuck at the edge when we final broke free. We arrived to what seemed like an abandoned village, slowly but surly people started emerging. We started by making them comfortable and playing some soccer. After a while a lady offered to let us use her house because the clinic could fit at most 3 people at once. Granted her house was not that much larger but it worked. In her house she had two single beds, a dresser, and a small table functioning as a kitchen. We poured out into the ample yard with vast fields wink wink and set up shop. We were able to help about 7 needy families. At the end of the day I am grateful for what I have and the opportunities that I have in America. -Adam