15 & 22 Day High School Service Programs
– 22 Days –
Below is the VISIONS Guadeloupe summer program itinerary for our teen volunteers. We always take advantage of opportunities to engage with the community through events or spontaneous gatherings, so the schedule may vary as the group weaves into daily fabric of the host community.
Day 1: Arrive at the airport in Pointe-a-Pitre, capital of Guadeloupe on the island of Grande-Terre, where VISIONS leaders are waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads to the ferry for an hour-long ride to our homebase island of Marie-Galante. (Additional calls home happen about once a week but as with all VISIONS locations, this is otherwise a tech free program.) After unpacking and settling in, there will be a program orientation and a welcome meal prepared by our dinner cook.
Day 2: The morning is spent getting to know our neighborhood and preparing for the service projects ahead with tool training. We then explore part of Marie-Galante with a scenic hike followed by beach barbeque and our first Circle meeting to start getting to know each other. (We come together for Circle meetings on average every other day during the program.)
Days 3 – 7: We’ll have a full work week, with projects starting right after breakfast and usually ending shortly after lunch in order to beat the heat. Each day teen volunteers generally get to choose from a few different projects, such as organic farming, environmental and trail work with the National Park Service, and carpentry and painting for local organizations. After-work activities this first week include a tour of the historic Distillerie Bellevue (where sugarcane is made into rum) games and sports with local kids, a pottery workshop, dying indigo, making manioc bread, carving calebasse gourds, and more. We’ll also get out for music in town.
Day 8: In pairs, we spend a day with local families, participating in everyday life. Everyone returns to our homebase in the evening. During the remainder of the program, we keep in touch through activities and other meals with our host families.
Day 9: We sleep-in today after a busy week, then clean our homebase and set out for an afternoon kayaking trip through mangroves along the shorelines of the island. We likely end the day with a beach cookout.
Days 10 – 14: During our second full work week, we keep making progress with our projects. We also continue with group Circle meetings a few times a week, getting to know each other and building a productive and positive group dynamic. We take Gwoka drumming and traditional dance lessons, visit the Jardin Medicinale and Kreol Museum, go out for Bokit (traditional deep-fried sandwiches) and an outdoor movie, and finish the week with local music and dancing in town.
Day 15: We take a ferry in the morning to Terre de Haut, a popular tourist island on the archipelago known as Les Saintes, where we tour the ancient fort, explore the fun little town and go swimming at the beach.
Day 16: A day of rest and relaxing, island-style. Optional activities include visiting the beach, hiking, sports, attending a local mass service and just hanging out with friends. At night, a cook-off contest is likely.
Days 17 – 21: During the final push with our projects, we complete as many as we can. Activities this week include the things that have been most popular during the rest of the program. We participate in workshops, beach outings, feeding sharks at the bay, dinners with local friends, a talent show and a heartfelt goodbye dinner on the last night.
Day 22: We take the early morning ferry to Pointe-à-Pitre to catch flights home. Leaders see all kids off from the airport—bon voyage until next time!