What a successful last few days! We have been traveling around to the different secondary schools promoting our Education Centre, and we have been receiving a very positive response. The administration likes that we are an after school program, and that we teach mostly in English. They know that we are offering a much better alternative on the weeknights and weekends than spending time on the streets or watching television at home.
Some other exciting developments in the last few days was the finishing of our outline of our garden, shaped as Africa!! In addition, Gina and Vedant have been cleaning out the stagnant pond in the back in order to refill it with clean water and fish. I am absolutely freaking out because there are so many frogs, and I can’t wait to catch one and dissect it for one of my experiments! Dissections were one of my favorite experiments as a child and one of the reasons I fell in love with science, so I can’t wait to share the experience with the kids.
Today we had five kids! These kids included two of the boys who visited our center on Tuesday, and they brought along three more friends. They seem genuinely excited about the program, and are just as psyched about digging in the garden as they are to hit a volleyball or sing along in a five-part round song with the fellows.
My experiments met with much more success today. We did reactions, including vinegar and baking powder, lemon juice and baking powder, yeast and hydrogen peroxide, and coke and mentos. We all wore our safety goggles, and it seemed like the boys were having a lot of fun. I started with one student, and as the other boys became curious as to what we were doing, I would have the previous student teach the new one, to reinforce the concepts. I feel like they learned the basics of acid-base reactions, as well as some good vocabulary, and hopefully they are now excited for experiments to come.
Their favorite mixture, however, was potato starch and water. We had a blast playing tricks on the other fellows, sticking the putty to their palms before having them go shake hands with unknowing victims. They found the trick hysterical, as did all of the fellows.
It is amazing to see the center coming together. Now that it is filling with kids and light, learning and laughter, it is amazing to witness and gives me such a warm, accomplished feeling when I come home.
But now, it is time to go taste a traditional Mauritian dish Vedant is preparing us. I am a little skeptical… the main ingredient is canned mackerel, but we are trying to keep an open mind because he hasn’t led us wrong yet. Here goes nothing!