Day 4

Today we started out in the garden. I wasn't sure how much the kids would get out of the experience, since it is February and there's not much exciting going on there. But I was proven wrong! The kids got a chance to learn about compost and give it a good mix.

Luckily there were lots of veggies to try, including kale, mint, sunchoke (aka Jerusalem Artichoke), and garlic chives. The crowd favorite, however, were the collard greens.

Inside the greenhouse we checked out the banana tree and we talked about how Indians use banana leaves as plates!
We went over to the cob oven and talked about how many cultures around the world cook with ovens like this.

Leaving the garden, we headed to a wild zone and I read to them one of my new favorite books: "The Table Where Rich People Sit"

The book is about a girl who complains that her family is poor, and is especially ashamed that her table is homemade (and not store bought like everyone else's). She arranges a family meeting and asks her parents to become "more sensible" and get a "real job" in the city where they can make more money. Her parents tell her to start making a list of how much things are worth to them, and instead of starting with the money they earn they share about the sunsets they get to see everyday (worth $20,000), the birds they get to hear every day (another $5,000) and the opportunity to see the sky all the time (another $20,000). Each of their family members is worth $1 million dollars, so once they add all that up and more, they are millionaires, and the girl no longer cares about how much money they have and learns to appreciate their way of life and wouldn't trade the table for anything. It's amazing!

After reading the story, I had them write in their journals the non-material things in their lives that were most valuable to them. A few of them got the idea of what I was getting at:

But some of the others haven't quite gotten there...

I guess it's a lifelong process of discovery that most adults haven't even figured out!

After the story I gave them the chance to go out and explore the forest on their own. They came back ten minutes later with their faces completely black from the charcoal of a burnt tree they had discovered. I'm sure their parents will love me for sending them home like that! Oh well! I bet they'll remember that experience for the rest of their lives.

We had a little more time to kill so I had them create commercials for IslandWood that they had to act out for the group. How would they share about this place with the next group of kids that haven't been here before? The boys' skits were silly and the girls made a cheer routine. Typical.

After gathering their borrowed rain gear to return to the gear room, we arrived at the last Friendship Circle.

The very last thing the kids do is to pull their luggage down the cart trail, where the instructors load it on the buses while the kids say their final goodbyes to us as they board the buses to go home.

I didn't want to see my kids go! I'd say that this week is the best I've had all year! I wish I could keep this group forever!!

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