Service Trips 2020

Alice B., Staff Writer

   The service trips have happened every school year for a while now. There needs to be a lot of preparation in order to make them the best they can possibly be. Planning for the 2020 programs began in February of 2019, as soon as the 2019 programs returned. Meetings were held on Wednesday mornings before school and were spent on team building, learning about the country of destination and the local partner on the ground there, planning for the service activities and fundraising activities.

   “Apart from our current three programs, we will be adding some exciting new offerings for 2021 and more information about this will be available soon,” service-learning coordinator Mr. Dankaerts said.

   The Nepal team works to support primary education in the village of Nagarkot, in the mountains of Nepal. The trip consisted of teaching the Nepali students and exploring the cultural aspect of the country. ASH students visited the city of Kathmandu and a monkey temple. Each member of the team would go to their assigned classrooms and begin their planned lessons. At the end of the day, there would be a dance party with all the grades and finally, the students would go back to the farmhouse, where they lived. On the last day, there was a leaving ceremony with all the children and teachers. 

   “I joined the service trip because I really wanted to make a change and be a part of a groundbreaking event. I enjoyed bonding with the children and it was fun talking and teaching them,” freshman Cady W. said.

   The aim of the Nepali trip was for the ASH students to have an opportunity to teach the Nepali students in a fun and interactive way. Thereby, Nepali teachers discovered other teaching methods, which could further help the children learn more efficiently while having fun and keeping the lesson interactive. 

   “The Nepal service trip is really life-changing and is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. The children you teach are unbelievably spectacular, the leaders are genuinely some of the best people you will ever meet, and Nepal, in general, is a gorgeous country that you’ll never forget, or want to leave,” junior Emilia A. said.

   The Thailand team supports an educational and cultural initiative with Burmese migrant workers in Khao Lak. Just like the Nepali team, the trip is broken into two parts. The first couple of days, ASH students were at the FED school, which is a school for Burmese migrant children that ranges from preschool to eighth grade. ASH students had lesson rotations and they participated in activities the Burmese students organized for them, which included learning Burmese dance. This part of the program allowed students to get to know the children better and exchange about themselves and their lives at ASH. 

   “I enjoyed making friends with all the Burmese children and learning about their culture. I would definitely recommend it to other students because it’s so much fun and you become more aware of how the rest of the world lives,” freshman Elena P. said.

   Later on, ASH students traveled with the older FED students to some beautiful destinations. They learned about the mangrove ecosystem and snorkeled in the Surin Islands. They also went to a Buddhist temple and a tsunami memorial, which helped them learn more about the Burmese and Thai culture. 

   “I think that the program really gives perspective into how different life can be. I also think that ASH students should embrace the opportunity they have because the memories made with the students and teachers in Thailand are full of joy and will last,” junior Lucy B. said.

   The aim of the Thailand trip is to expose both the ASH and FED students to a different culture, learning from new experiences and forming bonds that last even after the trip ends. Another important part of the program is the awareness that it aims to spread about Burmese migrants, who leave their country due to oppression and very low wages. Part of the program is dedicated to ASH students learning about this issue so they gain the ability to teach about it in the ASH community. 

   “What I enjoyed most about the program was getting to know the FED students and being able to stay in contact with them afterward. The trip is a good way to learn about a different culture while also learning about yourself. You get to have practice doing things you’ve never done before, like teaching lessons and leading activities,” junior Corin J. said.

   The Tanzania team supports the construction of school buildings through the Visiting Schools Program of the United World College of East Africa in Moshi. During the trip, ASH students started by helping construct a second building for a local primary school. Then, they planted trees at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro for the Roots and Shoots foundation and they visited an orphanage. Later, the students visited the Dinka School, which is a primary school built by Kimberly Zandvliet from Wassenaar, and the local Maasai tribe. The trip ended with a two day safari, where the students got a chance to discover the African wildlife.

   “The trip can help every student become more globally aware and help them develop the confidence, as individuals, to become actively and positively engaged in the global community,” junior Vladimir P. said. 

   The aim of the Thailand trip was to help construction workers at the Shrimatunda Primary School, Members of Roots and Shoots at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, and children at the Dinka School. ASH students collaborated with Tanzanians in a mutually beneficial and impactful manner. 

   In order for the service trips to be successful there needs to be some preparation. One of the most important aspects for the trips to happen is fundraisers. Many of the students participated in the swimathon, which was organized by both ASH swimmers and the Thailand and Nepal teams. There also were several bake sales and fundraisers at different shows, where students would sell concessions. Some of those shows include the High School Musical, Culture day and Night to Remember. Participants also individually raised money in many different ways, such as babysitting and jobs at Albert Heijn. Each member of the Thailand team had to raise 300 euros and the total of the money raised paid for nursery lunches at the FED for an entire year. Each member of the Tanzania team had to raise 250 euros in order to buy working supplies for the worksite and other components of the trip. Money was also collected from the annual Raffle Basket fundraiser.

   More information about next year’s service trips and the application process will be available soon, so stay-tuned!