El Séptimo Día/ Primera Parte


by Eva Coleman ’19

Today was like every other day; I woke up at 6:00am and then showered to prepare for the long day awaiting. Then my host sister Scarleth braided my hair and we left the house to go to breakfast. We got to the house very early around 6:45 which left me plenty of time to talk with my friends. We eat breakfast at 7:20 which was rice and beans, with pancakes and juice. Then we got time to relax before we left for the Nicaraguita school. Everyday 10 minutes before we go to the school the 3rd grade or 4th grade walk us to the school.

Once we got to the school we went right into our classrooms and began working with the kids. I am in 5th grade here so all of the students in my class are around 8,9,10. We started class with a little bit of math but then 15 minutes in all the classes went outside to play games. It was similar to a field day where all the grades compete against each other. We played a lot of games that were similar to relay races. It was fun to see the kids having fun and enjoying themselves, and the students from George School also got to participate which was fun.

After this we went back to class and I had science class with my students. Then we had recess where the kids get to run around and eat lunch. I usually spend recess with the girls and we play games as well as talk. A lot of the kids want to know more english and ask me how to say certain words in english. After this we went back to class for 30 minutes and then went to dance class. Today dance class was really short and we got to dance with the 4th graders. Then we walked back to Rafaela’s house for lunch.

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El Sexto Dia

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by Brandon Stolz ’19

Today began as usual for me; I wake up, take a nice cold shower, and get ready for the hot day. Today Eva and her host parent walked passed my house and asked if I wanted to walk with them to Rafaela’s house. I accepted and we walked the short trip.

At the house we ate breakfast discussing what we were going to do today. Sole talked about how we were going to the Orphanage in the morning called Hogar Belen. We were all excited to go when we filed into the bus with other kids from the Nicaraguan school. It was a long bus ride because all of the traffic so it took us about 40 minutes to get to Hogar Belen.

When we finally arrived at the orphanage the sun was very hot as usual and we were told to leave our bags in a room. When entering we soon learned that the children in the orphanage were handicapped. We spent the entire morning carrying, playing, and coloring with the children. During our visit we performed our dance that we did at the school, the cotton eyed Joe. We then did the macarena with the students of the Nicaraguan school and many of the kids were enjoying the dancing.

After dancing with the orphans we left and went back to the school where we had our dance lesson. We all managed to learn a little bit more of our dance by the end of our class. We then went back to Rafaela’s house for lunch and a much needed break.

We were all all relaxing after lunch when more kids from the school showed up at the gate of Rafaela’s house signaling our time to leave and go back to the school. At the school Malory and I went to our 10th grade class where we were discussing about sexuality. After this class we had gym where we played soccer in the street. We played soccer for a while until the final class.

During the final class, the school had a little party for us. They served us chicken tacos that were so good. After eating there was a little dancing.

The party soon ended and we went back to Rafael’s house and ate even more, we had hamburgers and fries. When I went back to my host family’s house I played soccer with them and ate dinner again with my family.

Jordan then came by my house and asked to play soccer with some other kids. We then all played soccer in front of my host family’s house for a few hours until we were tired. I then went to my room and went to sleep.

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Mississippi Day 4

by Caleigh Hoffman ’18

Four days in and I am an expert at installing windows. We spent our first night in the dorms, woke up and had cereal and baked oatmeal, and started work earlier than previous days because of this. One house got painted a lovely beige while the other house finished installing very large windows and putting up wall installation. We finished work early for the day and had a quick lunch of PB&J and chips. After lunch we spent a quick hour and a half playing Egyptian rat-screw, a card game involving speed that I excelled at losing at.

After we finished our game of cards we got in the vans and headed to Sumner, Mississippi to the courthouse where the two men who kidnapped and killed Emmett Till were tried and acquitted. We went to the Emmett Till Interpretive Center where we learned about the town and county’s relationship with the Emmett Till trial. The two men who killed Emmett Till were acquitted; they later confessed but received no consequence. They were acquitted by a 12 person jury of all white men. We toured the courthouse that was remodeled to look like it did in 1955 when the men were tried. We also learned that a statue outside the courthouse of a confederate soldier was put there even though no one in the county fought in the civil war. We then explored the town a little and went to the bridge overlooking the Little Tallahatchie River, where we also learned that the town was split between the white neighborhoods on one side of the river and black neighborhoods on the other. In 2018 the town still has some degree of segregation. I thought it was so interesting to learn of the outrage the wider US felt over the murder of Till while Tallahatchie County mainly felt apathy.

After visiting Sumner we started our dinner of stir fry and Valerie made a pecan pie and a peach pie (for Pi Day). We played some more cards after dinner.

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An Update from South Africa

by Amedeo Salamoni

Spent the day with my group in Filia School. This school is for learners with physical and mental disabilities. Our group worked with Filia students learning music for a marching band performance later in the week.

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Mississippi Day 3

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by Kailee Shollenberger ’18

10 Things I Learned the Hard Way about Painting a House:

  1. If you don’t want chunky paint, brush the dust off the walls BEFORE applying primer.
  2. When painting around an electrical socket, don’t touch the wires… you will get shocked.
  3. Also, don’t blow dust out of electrical sockets; it will end up in your eyes.
  4. Always wipe excess paint off your brush before painting the ceiling; it will drip on you.
  5. Don’t write messages on the funny wall in black marker; it will take several coats of primer to cover it up.
  6. If you’re going to paint the ceiling, don’t look directly up because paint will drip/splatter into your mouth.
  7. No matter how hard you try, you will trip over at least one paint can.
  8. Getting paint in your eyes doesn’t actually hurt that bad.
  9. When getting off a ladder, look before you jump… you may end up in a tray of paint.
  10. Teamwork makes the dream work.

After a spending second night at the Comfort Inn, we once again feasted on the complimentary breakfast. We then proceeded to watch Brendan somehow pack way more than we originally arrived to Mississippi with into our two Dodge Caravans. Once Brendan managed to pack all our stuff as well as us into the cars, we headed to the Tutwiler worksite to move officially move into our dorm and begin our second day of work.

Today was the same deal as yesterday: half of us went to continue painting in one house, and the other half went to install windows in the other house. I went to paint and was met by JD and Lorenzo singing along to the radio. I had not yet gotten to know JD very much before today, but was truly inspired by his positive attitude and free spirit exhibited within the first few minutes with him this morning. He attempted to show us how to mix spackle and ceiling paint with a power tool. He only got about halfway done mixing the first of five buckets before a large air bubble formed and popped, sending paint all over him, the floor, and the wall. We stood there in shock, not really sure whether to laugh or start cleaning. JD answered our thoughts when he started laughing and making jokes about the paint going everywhere. He continued mixing only for the power tool to start smoking. He laughed it off by singing and dancing with us while mixing by hand. While the morning certainly didn’t begin how JD or we had thought it would, the positivity and genuine happiness our group generated as we painted was enough to turn the day around.

During our lunch break we ate our PB&Js and discussed the progress we had made thus far. Lorenzo wanted to play some games outside with us, so we headed out and picked teams for a few rounds of kickball before heading back to work. Lorenzo and Max had some great kicks and helped lead their team to victory. We went back to working in the same houses we started in to complete the day’s work.

The work completed in the afternoon consisted mostly of finishing up any work not completed in the morning. In the painting house, we finished a bit early and cleaned out all the paint trays and brushes before heading over to the other group’s house to see if they needed any help. Julia and I helped them install two more windows before calling it a day. We headed back to the dorm, all very eager to finally be living in the same house together. Ben, Julia, Beau, Valerie, and I made dinner consisting of spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread for the group tonight. After showing off our master chef skills in the kitchen, dinner was finally served.

Dinner was followed by us gathering to journal today’s experiences and for some group bonding. Valerie split us into groups of four where we came up with a list of things that are true for all of the people within our group. This activity was followed by a discussion based on the ways our similarities and differences are beneficial to our lives. Everyone shared thoughtful comments, and I was able to learn a lot about my peers through spending this time with them.

Our night ended with yet another round of card games. I’m excited to meet more people and truly listen to what they have to say during my time here in Mississippi. Tomorrow holds another day of hard work, but also holds the endless opportunities to learn about our friends here in Tutwiler.


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El Quinto Dia

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by Danny McKay-Simons ’19

Today I awoke already excited for another day the school. After getting ready my host mother walked me to Rafaela’s house for breakfast, originally i thought it was going to be difficult to talk to my host family but because my  host mother is a teacher in my 4th grade class it was very easy to talk about the kids in my class and everyone is very nice and understanding when i make mistakes talking in their language.

At Rafaela’s house we had another amazing breakfast while we discussed the kids in our respective classes. Afterwards, the kids came and walked us to the school again and /i went to my 4th grade class. It made me so happy to see the faces on my 4th graders light up when I walked into the classroom. During the class i helped by correcting homework although i was surprised during English because the teacher was teaching a sentence with incorrect grammar and i was not sure if i was supposed to correct her or not so i stayed silent.

To finish off the morning we had our second dance class, and i was not looking forward to it originally because my feet had been hurting a lot by the end of our last lesson but this time i found that the dancing was not as hard and i was able to enjoy myself even more. After the dance lesson we went back to Rafaela’s house for lunch and i was able to take a nap which was good because i had been up late the night before talking to my host brother. It is a great relationship because he wants to learn english so he talks to me in english and i help him when he makes mistakes and i speak to him in spanish and he helps me with my mistakes.

In the afternoon we went back to the school and i went to 9th grade with Bea and Sidney. The classes are always interesting because while they are learning a lot, the classes are also very relaxed and as long as the work is completed the teachers do not care very much if we talk to each other or at times play games. We then left classes early because the 7th and 8th grade classes threw us a party. I was very appreciative for the food and drinks that they provided because they gathered the money from their own pockets and they just wanted us to have a good time. It was very entertaining to dance and talk with the other kids and after we left the school I couldn’t wait to be back.

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Mississippi Day 1 and Day 2

by Beau Simon ’18

Driving from Memphis to Tutwiler, I realized 3 things: there’s a lot less traffic in the south, the sense of loneliness when surrounded completely by farmland is crushing, and a Dodge Caravan can very comfortably fit 6 passengers, a driver, and their luggage! Yesterday was tumultuous, however through the tumult the excitement and positivity of the group certainly shined through. While our fearless leaders, Valerie and Brendan, inspected our dorm, the rest of the group played cards, laughed, and had fun. Despite the bad start, we all knew that what was going to make this trip great was the people, not the lodgings.

After a long day yesterday, we all were eager to rest our heads on the mattresses of the Comfort Inn. Accordingly, we awoke well-rested and ready for the day. After a complimentary breakfast (at which we watched paid programming about face cream!) we piled into our two spacious and beautiful 2017 Dodge Caravans™️ and made our way back to Tutwiler. Our leader in construction, JD, and much younger cousin Lorenzo, met us at our dorm. We split into two groups: one was to put primer on all the walls and ceilings of one house, and the other was to install fiberglass insulation in the ceiling of another house. I installed fiberglass. I must say I am quite impressed with how much both groups accomplished in a relatively short time. During our lunch break, we sat around a table and enjoyed our PBJs while discussing what we learned in our first few hours of service. After we finished eating, we headed behind the dorm and picked teams to play some football. I fell, Elenore learned the rules of football, and with five completions, Susie Mott was most certainly the MVP of the game. After that, it was back to work. After another few hours of priming and installing insulation, we cleaned up the work sites and headed back to our dorm. Then we made the 20-minute drive back to Clarksdale in our gorgeous Dodge Caravans™️. Arriving at the hotel, all those who worked with the fiberglass showered first. (It was an itchy day for a little bit.) After a nice break, we headed out to Wendy’s to have a cheap and tasty dinner. After Wendy’s, we went over to the Walmart. I don’t know if you have ever gone to a Walmart in Mississippi at 9:00 pm two days in a row, but I can proudly say I have. The haul this time: sports equipment and a week’s worth of food. After a long time at Walmart, we went back to the hotel, where we played more cards, ate some horrible tasting jelly beans, and packed up to move to the dorm tomorrow.

Our work so far has been very rewarding. We are working (and soon will be living) in the largest neighborhood in Tutwiler. It consists completely of houses built by Habitat for Humanity and was begun in 1985. The West Tallahatchie Habitat was the first Habitat organization in the state of Mississippi; it was established in 1973. While we are having fun, laughing a lot, and playing plenty of cards, it is impossible to ignore the immense poverty by which we are surrounded. While speaking to the Board President of Habitat, Valerie discovered that the whole region is employed by either of the two (yes two) major prisons in Tallahatchie County, works in education, medicine, or farming. It is clear we are in a desolate, and poor, area. Abandoned buildings are almost as easy to find as occupied ones, and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out the difference. Mississippi feels like a different country, and lacks the art galleries, coffee shops, and mansions to which we have all grown accustomed in Bucks County. I am excited for the rest of the trip, not only because I know that we will continue to have fun and do some good for a few people down here, but also because I have already been exposed to so many aspects of the United States I have never seen before.

All in all, it was a great day, better than any of us expected, and we are all looking forward to more football, cards, and house building. I’ve already gotten a little sun burnt (sorry mom) but I’m sure by the end of the trip Mississippi will leave a much longer lasting mark on me than a little sun burn.

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El Cuarto Dia

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by Robby Fishman’19

Once again, I woke up to the sounds of all the roosters and dogs greeting us in the morning. During the first couple days, to be honest, I didn’t like it one bit, however I have started to get use to it, and even look forward to it, since it is something I never experience back at home in Yardley.

After my host brother walked me to Rafaela’s house, we had another amazing breakfast, which is one of the many things I will miss when we return to the USA. After breakfast, we talked about what we were going to do throughout the day, and we practiced our dance routine, which we had to perform not once, but twice. At 7:00 sharp, a group of first graders from La Nicaraguita came to escort us to the school. Hand in hand, we walked to the school, and I got to know the kids I was walking with. One was very outgoing, however, the other one seemed a little bit more introverted and shy similar to me.

At La Nicaraguita, we were greeted with what I could swear was the loudest round of applause I have ever heard in my entire life, despite there only being around 100-125 people. The students of the school put on an introductory ceremony for us, and we all got to go up and introduce ourselves to the younger students and their teachers. We finally got to perform the dance we were working on, and it was met with positive reception. Immediately after, we all went to our classrooms. I was with the youngest group of kids, which were the preschoolers that were about 4 years old. With having experience working with kids for almost 4 years working as an assistant teachers and an instructor at The Little Gym of Langhorne back in the USA, I thought I had seen all there was to see. Boy, was I mistaken, Immediately, all the children greeted me with hugs, accompanied by various “Hola! Como te llamas?” (Hello, what’s your name?). Although I had a hard time understanding all the children since all of them were introducing themselves at once, I enjoyed the affection and playfulness. Throughout the first half of the day up until around 11:00, we all helped the kids with different tasks. Since I was in the preschool, I helped them brush their teeth, and learn how to write several numbers, including a new one for them, the number 4.

After this, we went to have a delicious lunch at Rafaela’s house once again. After lunch, everyone was exhausted! Most wrote entries in their journals and slept for around an hour, however I solved a couple rounds of Soduko, one of my favorite games to play on the go. Around an hour later, a group of older kids from La Nicaraguita came to escort us back to the school, where we sat in on their classes. I was with an eighth grade class, and although I did have a hard time understanding what exactly the lesson was about, I got the general gist of it and was able to help the teachers write on the whiteboard. After classes, we went to another opening ceremony with more wonderful poems and dances, and we got to perform our dance once again. We walked back to Rafaela’s house, had a nice dinner, and then waited for our host families to walk us home. I talked for a little bit, however around an hour after I got home, I was exhausted and ready to go to bed and have another amazing day tomorrow!

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Dealing With Roommate Issues

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by Sidney Walters ’19

Boarding school can open your eyes to new ideas, new religions, new cultures etc!  It’s also a great way to get accustomed to living with another person, as you will most likely have to do in college. Roommates can be someone who you can depend on for almost everything. I know that I depend on my roommate for almost everything! But, a roommate is not perfect, which is ok, but it can lead to conflict between the both of you, no matter who the person is. You might be wondering, what do I do in that situation?? Not to worry, I have the answer here for you! But first I will give you a scenario so that you can understand.


Say your roommate is playing music out loud during study hall. (In my room it happens all the time!) Which is totally fine, but tonight you have to take notes in your science book for a really important test tomorrow. You need to have complete quiet in order to do the assignment right. But, you don’t want to come off rude or mean towards your roommate if you ask them to get rid of the music.

What should you do???

You should politely ask them to either turn off their music or use headphones. In my experience, this usually works and we continue with our studies while respecting each other. I am sure if you ask politely and give your roommate alternatives they are sure to respect the space that both of you share.

That is just one example of a roommate issue that can easily be solved without any intervention of an authority figure. But, if by chance you can’t solve the issue yourself, you have prefects and dorm parents to help as well!

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El Tercer Día


by Mallory Fritsch ’19

Today began the trend of waking up for breakfast at 7:00; however, I still slept in an extra half an hour and missed my shower at 6:00.  Everyone in my family was still in bed as I got dressed, packed my bag, and got ready for an exciting day ahead of me.

Breakfast at Rafaela’s house proved to be just as great as ever, starting this exciting day with a bang.  We left Rafaela’s around 8:30 and set of with the students from Nicaraguita for the city of Granada. I won’t lie, waking up around 6:00 proved to be challenging and I slept the entire ride there, leaning on Sidney (sorry Sid) occasionally being woken up by a bump or loud talking.

At 9:30 we reached “El Puerto de Granada”.  The music was loud, and there weren’t a lot of people, so our group sat around playing with the hackey-sack, buying fruity drinks, and waiting for our next steps to on our adventure.

These next steps were walking down the end of the pier to board a large boat that would take us on a tour of the the “Isletas de Granada”.  We were only an hour early… But this wasn’t a problem because we all played cards and conversed about the views and exciting day ahead.

The boat trip was one to remember.  There was music playing over the speakers, and the Nicaraguan students stood up and got us all to dance, maybe not that well, but dance nonetheless.  There was also the excitement surrounding the piñata. Little kids and Hadley all danced and took their best swings until the explosion of candy flew all over the top tier of the boat.

Within no time, we reached the “Isleta de San Pablo”.  We ate a picnic lunch of rice and fruit juice before we went exploring the small island.  The group took a lot of pictures all over, exploring and feeling the heat. Luckily, not long after, we all dove into Lake Nicaragua and swam the rest of the day away.  The Nicaraguan students joined us too, standing in the shallow end with us as we tried to teach them to swim.

The time passed fast and we all got out the water to dry off while waiting for the boat to arrive.  As a group the GS and Nicaraguan students all played cards, Uno, and learned new steps from Jordan.

When the boat arrived, we all rushed to go get seats and relaxed the ride back, watching the younger kids participate in dancing competitions and sing along to the music blasting over the speakers.

The ride back to Rafaela’s I was actually awake and able to see the bright colors of Granada. A small group in the back also had the chance to expand our Spanish, gossiping with the students.  

Overall the day was very expansive.  I think I speak for many of us when I say that my Spanish has expanded a lot over the last few days.  I am still very nervous to speak and trying to find the right words to speak, but everyone here has been very patient, helping me learn and expand my vocabulary.  The trip can only get better from here… and I can’t wait.

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