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Kenston Martinique 2016

March 21, 2016:

Our day started off with an amazing breakfast at 8 AM from a few fellow students who prepared a delicious French breakfast.  Then we were off to our first excursion to Chateau Dubuc, a former sugar cane plantation.  Given a brief history of the area, we explored the ruins and understood the process of sugar products.  Our second destination began with a small water break as we  prepared to hike to “Le Phare de la Caravelle” (the Caravelle lighthouse).  The exhasting hike allowed us to appreciate the scenery at the view point.  Soon after, the sight of the magnificent landscape and the striking blue water was followed by a picnic lunch near the lighthouse.  After hiking back to our bus and making a stop to the hotel, we started our third outing to visit an elementary school at Ecole Auguste Rejon.   Including activities ranging from paper snowflakes , to games (twister and duck, duck, goose), to dances (head, shoulders, knees, and toes), we practiced our French and interacted with the kids.  After many sad goodbyes, we departed and headed “a la plage” (to the beach!).  We frolicked and relaxed in the sun, both land and sea.  To conclude the night, we ate dinner at L’ Escapade and shared our “Roses and Thorns” of the day (very few thorns!).  Overall, the first day of our Kenston Martinique trip was a success!!!

Find video from our school visit here:

A Bientot!
— Elise and Grace 🙂

March 22, 2016:

We started the day at 7:30 with a hearty breakfast, including fresh bread, juice, and local cereal. We then went on an hour and a half bus ride to an organic farm, on which we came up with icebreaker games for the Martinique students. Once we arrived at the farm, we dropped our bags and met up with the students on the path. We hiked to stoney ruins where we stopped for snacks, drinks, and pictures with the students. After this break, we walked down the rest of the hill we were on, all the way back to the farm. The owner of the farm, Malik, then took us on a short tour of the farm where he explained the methods he uses for his organic farming. We and the Martinique students then ate a delicious, all-natural lunch provided by the farm and its partners. This lunch, consisting of salad, dachines (a local vegetable), sweet potatoes, chicken, casserole, green beans, banana and dachine cake, gooseberry ice cream, and local juices, lasted two hours. After we socialized with the other students during this lunch, we were split into task groups to work on the farm. These task groups included weeding, spreading hay, harvesting, and planting. We did this for an hour, after which we said our goodbyes by taking selfies and exchanging snapchats, knowing in the back of our minds we would see each other tomorrow.

On the drive back, another hour and a half, we stopped at a local grocery store. There, we purchased ice cream and other intersting snacks of different flavors. We then continued our drive in stop-and-go traffic, finally reaching our hotel. We relaxed for a bit, washed off, and struggled to use the hotel’s wifi to chat with our new friends. After this, we walked to a restaurant about five minutes away from our hotel called Le Phare. The staff treated us with bread, pop, chicken, fries, salad, carrots, dachines, and special Martinique popsicles. We stayed there for around two hours, later walking home. On this walk home, we were joined by a stray dog who led the way back to our hotel for us. There, we relaxed, talking to our new friends and reflecting on the exceptional day we just spent in our tropical paradise of Martinique.

— Megan and Roxanne

March 23, 2016

We started off the day bright and early by traveling to Lycée Montgerald to meet more high school students. After the long bus ride there, we said  hi to the students at the school and then entered the classroom. There we learned bèlè (a common dance in the Caribbean). We had a small dancing/singing battle, where we were able to share our own dance with the students (creds to Just Dance – Papaoutai) after tasting some local food and drinks. After that, we had our own mini dance party and learned some new moves. The next class arrived, and we started our own “speed dating” session, where we were able to get in small groups with the other students and got to know them better. This enabled us to learn more about their culture and their daily lives. It was interesting to compare our own lives to theirs and to realize how similar they are to our own. We also got to play a little game with them (a mix between Taboo and Headbandz), which was a fun way to work on their English skills. When it was time to leave we said our goodbyes 🙁 but we got to do the bises (the kissy cheek thing)! After lunch at Mango Bay (on the marina), we drove to the beautiful white sand beach. There we swam in the ocean, took pictures, and bought souvenirs for y’all 😉 We finished our day with a delicious dinner at Cocoa Beach Restaurant and even met a Benedict Cumberbatch look-a-like! We also found a coconut on the ground and took a picture with it! Then we returned to the hotel and went straight to bed 🙂

-Ellen & Madison

March 24, 2016

Our day started at 8 AM, when we woke up to another great breakfast of croissants and bread, yogurt, and more fruit and cereal.  We boarded the bus and started our journey to the capital of Martinique, Fort de France.  Once we arrived to our destination, we met up with our tour guide, Julie.  Our first stop in Fort de France was the Bibliotheque Schoelcher, a beautiful old library which was named after an important figure in Martinique who encouraged the abolition of slavery.  We learned about him and more, including Napoleon’s wife, Josephine.  We visited a headless statue of her, representing the people’s resentment of her during the end of slavery.  The next exciting adventure continued in the spice market.  We embarked on a scavenger hunt, completing tasks such as asking the temperature and doing the macarena. After doing so, we were given time to shop til’ we drop (luckily no one dropped), before heading over to catch the ferry. After a thrilling and splashy ride, we arrived at Les Trois Ilets for our kayaking excursion.  At  le vilage de la potterie, known for constructing red clay tiles, we met our two guides, Sebastien and Lucien. We split into partners and hopped aboard a short boat ride to an island where we descended into the kayaks. From there, we kayaked to the mangroves for a journey through the jungle book-esque channel. This was equipped with spider crabs, crashing into trees, and lots a laughs. After emerging once again, most girls jumped back into the water to ride on the kayaks, creating a train resembling ducks-in-a-row. We journeyed back to the mainland with the help of the boats pulling us ducks along, then proceeded to do a bit more shopping. After the long, tiring day, we bussed back to Tartane for PIZZA AND CREPES. WOOHOO. Overall, it was a swimmingly good day for the little ducks. Until tomorrow.

-Lauren and Abi 🙂

March 25, 2016

Bonjour tout le monde!  Today we started our day with a breakfast of croissants, cereal, and fruit.  After getting prepared for the day, our first stop was the banana museum.  With the whole museum being outside, we walked around and looked at the different vegetation that was growing.  Besides the banana grasses (not trees!), we saw beautiful flowers and little geckos crawling around the trees.  Before departure, we stopped at the souvenir shop and sampled different banana juices, banana ketchup and banana jam.  Next, we went to the grocery store where we bought sandwich supplies and ingredients for our lunch.  Our next stop was Mount Pelée, where we ate lunch and would hike to an overlook to see the view.  After eating, some students decided to go on a small walk to a higher point in the mountain.  Since the mountain was so high up, we found ourselves in the clouds!  Afterwards, we all boarded the buses for our trip to the waterfall.  Following a long drive there, we got into our swimsuits and arrived at the waterfall.  It was a crazy hike down to the river, but everyone managed to get there just fine, despite the winding staircases.  We found ourselves in a place that was like a movie scene from Jurassic Park, with the green jungle surrounding us. “This is AWESOME!” was a quote from our fellow student Sam S. upon arrival.  We didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into, thinking it would be a relaxing knee deep walk through the water.  All of a sudden there was a drop off, and we were swimming through the river.  Climbing up ladders over waterfalls and on top of rocks, we finally made it to the big waterfall. The view was breathtaking, and we all took turns taking pictures with it.  After all picture taking was done, we headed back down stream.  The hike back up was a little tough, but the thought of nice, toned legs after we were done got us through.  Excited from the experience, everyone was really bubbly on the bus ride home.  Making it back to the hotel, some girls decided to do synchronized swimming in the pool and make ukulele videos.  Also, two girls wrote a song about the vacation and sang to the whole group.  Finally, we made it to dinner and went on a little boardwalk at night over the ocean.  After finishing dinner, we said our last goodbyes to Alyssa, one of our chaperones who was so sweet the whole week.  We topped off the day with reflection exercises and excitement for the days to come!

–Camden and Cara

March 26, 2016

Today, Kenston High School girls immersed themselves in Martinique’s cultural dance, Bèlè.  This type of dance symbolizes the escape of slavery and the beginning of a new life. The dance motions represent strength, relief, and freedom. Learning this dance was a blast and a great time. Next, we took a train ride through sugar cane and banana plantations. Here, we learned information and facts about sugar cane and various kinds of medicinal plants. Lastly, we spent the last few hours of the afternoon at the Tartane beach. We had a lot of fun snorkeling and enjoying the festival nearby. Many of us shopped and bought coconut water fresh from the coconut.  Many of us had a fun time posing and including the coconuts for pictures. At the festival, many showed off their Bele dance moves learned at the dancing studio, and even danced on stage. It was a great day and many of us are sad the trip is coming to an end. So many memories and bonds were created. It has been one of the best spring breaks yet. Thanks to the chaperones and our wonderful guide, Taylor, for keeping us safe and making memories to cherish forever.

–Jess and Clare