What the Spring Street International School kids are up to…
If it seems kinda quiet in town, a part of that is because the SSIS kids are away to Peru & Asia…here’s a little writeup from Head of School Louis O’Prussack that uses the words of the students to tell the story. Thanks, Louis – here’s more:
For the past 15 years, since its inception, Spring Street students engage in enduring experiential education projects during February. Middle school students focus on Shakespeare and travel to Ashland. Younger high school students leave for Peru this Sunday for three weeks of homestays, language classes, and volunteer work in an orphanage. Older high school students are either pursuing internships such as working for a public health project in Ghana, or traveling to Thailand and India on a six-week expedition that includes service projects, cultural immersion, and lots of personal growth. I recently asked our eleven students currently in Thailand to describe their most memorable moment so far:
From Peg Hope, one of the trip leaders and SSIS founder: Students have just finished up their homestays in Mae Jo, where they worked together with the villagers on a service project – creating a firebreak to protect the village and the crops from the kind of fires that can rage in this area this time of year. As Ted is fond of saying, “there are only 3 things that matter, or can change the world — Love, shared work, and money.” We try to bring the first one with us everywhere we go, engage in the second whenever possible, and donate the third when we can, and when we know it will make a difference. The project was something the villagers themselves asked for, so right in line with our primary objective and mission.
Climbing the third largest peak in Thailand was an experience I will always remember. Tired for days, I feel stronger and more accomplished than ever. Never has a view been so rewarding.
Going to the school for kids with HIV was an amazing experience, seeing how happy they are even with having AIDS or HIV. Definitely an experience I will always remember.
Marta- grade 10:
The most amazing experience for me so far in Thailand was when we stayed at Malee’s, and taking the walk from there to the temple of Laung Pusim’s, where I meditated with Peg at 5 AM. I also loved the hike we did with Colin, and I really enjoyed the homestays in the farmlands. Thailand was easy to love.
Lindsey- grade 12:
My favorite part of the Asia trip so far would be a tie between playing with the kids at the orphanage and getting to know my host family.
John- grade 11:
At the AIDS orphanage in Chiang Dao I was amazed at the children’s happiness, as well as their capacity to become attached to a stranger who did not know a word of their language.
Well, I’m not really sure where to start. Thailand has been absolutely fantastic. It’s so enjoyable to just absorb all the different stimuli: sights, smells, sounds, all completely overloaded.
Alexandra- grade 12:
She placed her hands over her heart and told us, in broken English, that she would miss us. I was sad to leave my host mother and family behind. I had an incredible experience in Mae Jo village, playing with the neighborhood children and learning Thai over a dinner of spicy soup and rice. I developed a new life for myself in Mae Jo, and I will miss it.
Inseok- grade 12:
My best moment in Thailand would be the time I spent with my host family. It was a great chance to learn about Thai culture. I enjoyed trying different types of Thai food and communicating with them without speaking English, using mostly body language.
Kaj- grade 12j:
Thailand in general is sweet: an easing into the intensity of India, not to say it doesn’t present cultural challenges of its own. My favorite parts were the new ones – the homestay, climbing Thailand’s third tallest peak, and going deeper where I have already been.
Zach- grade 12:
My most memorable experience in Thailand: Eating a particularly tasty spicy curry for my first dinner in the Mae Jo homestay, and being appalled to uncover a reddish ant ingloriously pushed to the side of my plate. Upon further investigation, I realized that the curry I was eating featured ants and their respective larvae as key components. Is it weird to say that this dish tasted better than many of the others I tried while in Thailand?
As always, Wan-Pen and Mr. He’s farm was a place of beauty, tranquility, and phenomenal food. For wont of a better word, my time at Wan-Pen’s was amazing and indelible; I will never forget the hospitality and genuine welcome that she showed us and has, year after year for her Spring Street family.
From a fellow organizing the microhydro project:
If you have come to help me you can go home again. But if you see my struggle as part of your own survival then perhaps we can work together. — Australian Aborigine Woman