Week Without Walls was our introduction to China. Being new to IB I’m not sure if this is something all schools do or just ours, but basically every Grade goes away for a week on a service camp for WWW. As a remote boarding school, this is the experience most seniors choose to use for the Service element of CAS.
For Johnny and I, WWW was a crash course in Service. We had literally just landed in China a few weeks before and Johnny was asked to organize a camp as the original location had fallen through. He pulled this experience together in a new country, where he doesn’t speak the language and Google is essentially useless. Yes, he’s brilliant. The camp was nestled in a remote part of Southern China most people haven’t heard of. A completely self sustaining village with the best food I’ve ever had. Teachers and students alike all stayed in home-stays (so cool) complete with squat toilets, and worked in the fields during the day.
This was a brilliant experience and it taught us some very key things about Service. Our first day here the students worked all day clearing a field and planting new crops. They were tireless in their efforts; working together and laughing through the intense heat – we were super proud. At the end of the day we asked the local woman helping us how long it would have taken her to do the task. She shrugged, “Oh, maybe two hours” Right. So this isn’t authentic service. Service should be a skill you have that others don’t, something you can offer that they can’t do for themselves.
So that’s what we took away from the camp, we can make sure next year’s set up allows for more authentic Service. That aside, we had an awesome week with a seriously fun group of kids.