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Location: Savanna Bay, Virgin Gorda

We woke up at a nice and early 6:30 in Savannah Bay, with the sun already risen and shining brightly. Immediately, we revved up the motor and set a course for Spanish Town, on the Northern side of Virgin Gorda. Breakfast was served on the way, bagels and yogurt. Once we arrived, we jumped in the dinghies and went on our way to the Spanish Town harbor, where we were met by Julie, a Virgin Gorda resident, and recycling activist. Once both boats had joined together on the harbor, we went for a brisk walk around the roads of Virgin Gorda, stopping at the Valley Day School, one of the only schools that were open soon after Hurricane Irma hit the island. We were able to meet a few of the students who currently attend the school, and we gained insight into their schooling.

On arrival, we were informed by Julie and the headmaster, Jan, about the issues that they face due to the hurricane, but we also learned how we could help. Creating piles of leaves to be used as compost was just the beginning of what we had to face today. Six of our biggest attendees took multiple hours to take one super-sized tree stump out of the ground so that a new fence could be put in later; pickaxes, shovels, hands, and minds had to be used to their full capacity during this intense labor to remove this stump. While this was going on, my other fellow students were painting roofs and tires, cleaning up a playground behind the school, and dealing with other smaller overgrown trees, until we were broken up for lunch, which was pepperoni, cheese, and vegetarian pizza.

After lunch we continued to work for another few hours, the sun at its highest point beamed down onto us. While those same students fought the battle against the stump, and finally won, thanks to the use of an immense amount of manpower, the others were finishing up the final touches on the rest of the school. The painting of the roof had been a success and the last areas where being completed. The multi-colored tires had beautiful designs painted onto them by both GoBeyond students and students of the school. All four sides of the school grounds had the unwanted shrubbery removed, to clean up the look of the school’s boundaries. Once we said goodbye to all of the school students, we went on our way back to the boat, to prepare for dinner. We had to motor back to Savannah Bay, where we started the day, where we then started to get dinner ready. Will, one of the members of the media team, joined us for the meal, and he enjoyed our Chili with us. Our squeeze question made the students think deep into their past, asking what time in there life they would repeat and/or erase from there memory.

-Daniel Philips