A High School Student:  Tessa Fry

My name is Tessa Fry. I am 18 years of age, and I am a high school graduate from Bryan Station High School in the U.S. I started volunteering at Starfish on the 11th of June, 2016. I have been helping with tutoring the Starfish Library kids in Mathematics. Teaching these kids is an experience that is teaching me patience. My best feeling in the classroom is when the kids understand what I am teaching them. It feels like I’ve accomplished my goal for the day. I teach from 10:30 pm to 12:00 pm in the mornings and 3; 30 pm to 5:00 pm in the afternoons, Monday to Friday. I feel connected to one of the kids, her name is Elizabeth. This morning, we colored together, and we continue to talk more often. I enjoyed my time with her.I have learned a lot about the culture of The Gambia, and I’m experiencing the life of a Gambian. One of the experiences that really stood out to me was the destination we reached on my first evening walk at Starfish. I found out we went to support the family of one of the Starfish students who lost her dad. I was expecting an introduction to the people’s house for at least myself, cause maybe the other volunteers had been there. We sat in complete silence almost the whole time. This would have never happened in American, Americans feel like there shouldn’t be silence, so there rarely isn’t. After a while of what I thought was awkward silence, we went back to the Starfish Library. I am glad to have had the opportunity to reach out to one of the students and support them in their sad moment. Even though it was not done in the American way, we did extended our support and that is what really matters.I realized that this is the type of experience that has brought me half way around the world, and I hope to have many more of these moments”.