by Ryan Lyons ’18
Today is the third day of our trip in Arizona. On our first day we all woke up tired at 4:30 in the morning in order to get to the street in the circle and eventually to the airport. After eating breakfast at the airport and taking one flight to Atlanta then taking a connecting flight to Phoenix, Arizona, we were tired but we were finally in Arizona. After our long car travel all the way to center which is approximately six hours, give or take an hour or two, we arrived at the first home stay family’s house. There, we made introductions with all of our home stay families and eventually split off into different groups. We left for our respective homes and we stayed the night. Our first proper day in Arizona started out great, we were all excited and very anxious to get to the school. We drove around to pick up everybody from the homestay houses everyone had a night of sleep and we were finally on our way to the school. We arrived at the school and we met with the principal and the staff that was in the front office. The staff welcomed us with open arms and took us on a tour of the school. After we all were introduced to our classrooms we met the kids, which led to some questions on where we were from and why we were so tall or so big.
We all spent our first part of the day working with the kids and around lunchtime and PE time we started to see each other. We were all so excited and happy with where we were that we couldn’t stop smiling! We finished our day and we left the school with all of the students asking us if we would be back the next day. Reluctantly, we told them we would be back for the rest of summer school, so they all calmed down and left knowing they would see us the next day. We all rode back to the townhouse and had lunch together as a group. We discussed our first days and we were all very excited and happy about the experience that we had. All of us went to the grocery store soon after in order to pick up some supplies and some snacks since we are all hungry teenagers. After which we came back, we ate dinner, and eventually we drove students out of their home state which was 40 miles away.
There we saw horses, open spaces, and no technology! But to our surprise no one was upset about the absence of technology, in fact we were all so ecstatic this new vibe for life we were being presented and how it was feeling to us! After some students spent some time bonding with the cats and the horses in the area, we all went inside and talked to the home stay parents at that location. He shared with us the Navajo prophecy and what life truly is about to him and his people, and because of that feeling all of us were even more excited about the service trip we are embarking on.
That night was another long car trip back filled with music after and of course jokes, but all of us marveled at the kind of life we were missing and the kind of life and live out here in Arizona. After going to sleep that night we all looked up the next morning and repeated the same morning schedules with the kids even more vibrant than normal. We spent another full day spending time with them, teaching them, and helping them in summer school. After the school day was over we headed out and came back to the townhouse and walked the dogs. But all in all our experience so far is there’s an entirely new perspective to life and that while we’re here we want to savor it as much as possible, because it’s so wonderful the type of light at the Navajos live out here in Arizona. It is something that we are beyond blessed to be a part of the next two and half weeks, because we will never forget this experience.