Saying Goodbye to Bishop’s High School

We started off with breakfast like normal, but today we would not be headed to the school. The morning would include a hike down a long road that was on the inside of a river valley. Last night we chose this over going on a hill climbing expedition, but we found the valley to be equally strenuous with the sun beaming down.

After a while of walking on the road, we got to the bridge where cars used to cross the river. I say used to because the second half of the bridge had collapsed into the river. Cars now have to travel about an hour out of the way to cross the river. On the other hand, pedestrians and motorcyclists can continue to cross at the same area because of a wooden bridge that has been constructed to the side of the former steel one.

We didn’t touch the water, but we did cross the bridge before making our way back up to the van and heading to school for lunch. A little Frisbee was played before we made our way to the chapel so that we could say goodbye to the school and vice versa.

With our best efforts, we sang our national anthem before being upstaged by a barrage of performances from Bishop’s High School. There was amazing singing and equally impressive dancing. Goodbye gifts were exchanged and prayers were spoken, asking for our safe travel. There was a funny little mix up with the names which caused Ycar to be standing when Mr. Prockop was the real gift recipient. While waving goodbye to the school and its students, all I could think of was the work we’d completed and all that was left to be done.

Later this same night, we hosted a dinner for our host families and the Headmaster from Bishop’s. The event was a blast. It was a goat roast outside on the lawn. I’m told the goat was delicious, but being a vegetarian, I can only say how great the rest of the food was. There was spaghetti, tons of different salads, roasted potatoes, and fruit for days. Dinner was perfect.

We started the event close to sundown and finished with a sky full of stars above our heads as we bid farewell to or guests, but before then there was a show. A traditional dancing group performed for us. The high tempo and high energy dances were extremely complicated. At one point, one of the group members popped up out of nowhere with a pair of five foot stilts on. Everyone in the audience was invited to join at any point of the performance if we wanted and many of us did just that. Even though we weren’t as talented as the man dancing on stilts, it was still a lot of fun to try their dances.

After the performance and dinner, families took the chance to give gifts to the students they’d hosted before bidding us farewell. With all the gifts given and goodbyes said, the families made their way home while we helped put things away. The stars were shining brightly as the alliance between Groton and Bishop’s locked tight until next year, when we hope more students will return.

– Atiba

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