Tulsa, OK – Sadly, it was our second to last day the San Miguel School, time has flown by these past three days. My mornings have been filled with fixing things in the school yard and around the school. Then my afternoons consist of playing different sports with the kids during recess and P.E. class. Playing soccer with the kids has by far been the best part of the trip. Soccer has the ability to bring people together. Just playing with the kids, I was able to see their different personalities and learn more about them. Once they found out that I played soccer too this helped us to bond even more. This bond helped the kids open up to me even more off the soccer field as well, leading to my second favorite part of the trip. One of the 8th grade girls with a very big personality asked me to come sit with her and her friends at lunch. Having her ask me to do this was very big because you can tell this girl does not like many authority figures at school. I was able to chat with her and her friends. They asked me questions about my life, and I asked things about them, too. We continued into indoor recess playing cards and just talking about random things in their lives. It was super cool to see them trust me and feel like they could talk to me even though they just met me.
This whole trip has been extremely eye-opening: the experience of a school environment that is very different than my own experience was. San Miguel school is placed right in the middle of a neighborhood and has a small school yard that is made up of a dirt field and patch of pavement with a basketball hoop. There are only around 70 total students the small one-story school building. The students are also separated into classes based on gender, so boys and girls don’t have classes together. All of these things are very different from my own middle school educational experience. This whole trip has made me realize how fortunate we all are. I think sometimes we take for granted all the blessing that we have. From now on, I am going to try and be more aware and thankful for the things I have in life.
I know we are making a difference in the school and in these kids’ life by being here this week, but I feel bad because I wish we could do more for them. There are so many resources that I had in middle school that they still don’t have. It is hard knowing this and not being able to do anything about it. If we made a little difference at all in these kids’ lives, it will be bigger than anything money can buy for this school. My hope is that these kids will remember us even after we leave and that we will have made a lasting, positive impact in their lives.
– Gabby Pederson