A number of jokes come to mind when I first think back on my GCW experience this year. A number of them stem from simple things done during the trip, such as me eating a banana on our way to the centre we were staying at. I would include a few more in the title, but that would make the slight reference null.

It’s difficult to really say what I learned the most on this trip, but if I am forced to pick, I would have to say that it’s that simplicity truly offers the best that can be offered for happiness. We did nothing very truly sophisticated during GCW – teach children, play games with them, built a cafeteria and participate in team building activities. Not too much thinking involved, but it was amazing anyway. I learned of the joy that can be had from simply working with a friend, simple sports with children and really just sitting down and having a talk with a friend. That, actually, was probably the best thing. I learned more about my friends during a single week of GCW than I have for months at school.

My emotional experiences went through ups and downs, though mostly ups. Learning things about what the Maesalak children have to go through on a daily basis always frustrated me, but then interacting with them was always fun. I admit that I didn’t think teaching would be fun, but it was. It made me feel good to see them so happy. It was even fun working because besides that I enjoyed being put to physical labour, it was alongside people I knew and people I was beginning to get to know. And the best part of each day was sitting or lying under a sky so full of stars and having meaningful conversations with friends. It was always good to get to that part of the day when I could just catch up with someone and learn more about them. Certainly, I would go to bed each night with a smile. Of course, unforgettable, was connecting with someone I didn’t think I’d ever connect with – the supervisor, Mr. Utecht. Having tea and sitting down one on one at night and just talking was always great.

The greatest moment of this trip, honestly, is probably when I was wrestling with the children on the last day at the school. I was dragged by a single boy into the field and before I knew it, he had jumped on my back. Before I could really react, more jumped on me and I ended up rolling around the field growling and messing around with the boys. It was fun, it was physical and it made me think at the same time – as strange as that is. If this is their idea of fun – aggression and wrestling – what type of raising are they receiving from their parents? Are they being taught that aggression is a trait that should be valued in males? I don’t know this and it bothers me, but nonetheless it was fun and I enjoyed it.

Connecting while disconnected has got to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.