Many emotions surround our closing classes for this 9th exchange. There is some confusion on the EP JSS campus, as all former leaders from EP Primary begin to gather with us. We realize the teacher misunderstood us, and rather than gathering the small group, alerted all classes. While we are thrilled to say hello to all these familiar faces from our beginnings, some are a little disheartened to see that this is just miscommunication. We find our rhythm easily with the group paired with Paideia, as we have worked with most of these students since our exploration trip when they were completing their P4 year. Many of them are bigger than we are now, yet their focus remains for the new lesson before them.
We share with them that this will be the last time we work with them in a group in this way, as the logistics – and noise – have become too much to navigate on this campus. Patricia yells out, you are breaking my heart, while others’ faces do the speaking with a couple softer ows (no). Sometimes as we progress, we must let go of the beginnings in order to move forward. The emotions pass quickly as they take to creating their projects, which mirror their friends in Atlanta. They love using all the sticker letters, and of course, the joy of glitter never fades, even with teenagers.
Our last class to present to, RC Mixed 6A, receives letters from the Vail Mountain School 6th graders, as well as a poster of Food Festivals in Savannah, Georgia created by Mr. Finley’s 6th graders at Ogelthorpe Charter School. Being the final class, we have now met with 1,600 students between these two countries. Of all these students, this class is the first to list “tools” as one of many influences in how where we live affects what we eat.
Our eyes fill with tears as we share with this class the passing of Taft, and our visit with VMS students during that tragic week. We share how, for a short while, students were smiling when receiving their letters from Ghana. Wisdom was paired with Taft, and receives a copy of the memorial service program as well as a letter from their teacher Mrs. Kate Blakslee. He shares poignant sentiments, having also been touched by this loss. “I would like to say to Taft Conlin, rest in wonderful peace. May God have you in beautiful heaven. We will meet one day.” The rest of the letters speak just as sweetly – Dear Lilly, I thank you for your wonderful letter… Your friend in Ghana, Rita. I wish you the best. Other students take to the floor, and enjoy covering posters with some information about Yam Festivals, and local crops.
The atmosphere will turn more festive, as there are preparations everywhere taking place for the Easter Holiday weekend. We will sing and dance with the students tomorrow, as we say our final goodbyes on the campuses. We will conclude our time with a trip to the Koforida Bead Market and by making final arrangements with our scholarship recipients. My how times when we are having fun!