What an exhausting, yet extremely exciting day. Grace, Vedant and I had an early start with a 10am meeting with one of the major banks in Mauritius, to discuss a long-term partnership and donation plan. Although no definite monetary plan was established, I do believe that ELI Africa got its foot in the door for establishing a relationship in the future. The bank believes in long-term sustainable development of education, which is entirely relevant to our program, although they do tend to focus more on primary school as opposed to our current model of targeting secondary school students.
Afterwards we rushed off to a meeting with Top FM, a major radio station in Mauritius. To our surprise and pleasure, we sat down to a meeting with one of the major radio jockeys, Ryan, who from the get-go was on our side and trying to help ELI Africa in any way that he could. We were awed by his genuineness and generosity, as well as how accomplished he is in Mauritius and the musical world as a whole. We are psyched to add him to our ever-growing ELI Africa family, for he has so many ideas with how to spread the word on our organization, establish contacts within the Ministries and University of Mauritius, as well as many friends willing to help our cause. Before we even left the room, he had secured us a generous book donation, water and snacks for our upcoming medical day, as well as professional speakers and a microphone for our final performances at the end of the month. We also are welcoming Ryan, Top FM coverage, and some possible performers to our final ceremonies and medical camp next week! The students will be so excited, and I can’t wait to honor all of their hard work from these past two months. We wrapped up our meeting with a tour of the radio station, which seems like such a friendly and high-energy environment, and clearly a fun and exciting place to work.
Leaving Port Louis refreshed by Ryan’s excitement and willingness to help, and listening to a shout-out to ELI Africa on Top FM itself, the car was buzzing with energy and readiness for the day at the Centre ahead. After dealing with emails, I wrote up the judging rubric for the impending Science Fair, to let the students know what we will be looking for. I am hoping to invite not only some of our own doctor volunteers, Dr. Rakhee and Dr. Amal, but also possibly some University Mauritius science professors to act as guest judges for the final competition.
Today’s science class was much more serious in tone than usual. The students know that it is time to crack down and work hard, and as they hear about all of the potential visitors to the fair, they realize they must produce their very best effort. Almost every student has declared their hypothesis and has gathered fairly extensive background information. I am constantly impressed by how much time our students are spending at home to prepare their projects! Tomorrow will be dedicated to developing their actual experiments and procedures. Some quick examples of projects include: factors that make plants die, oxygen production of aquarium plants, the effects of smoking cigarettes, and the use of different plants as light bulb batteries. We still have a lot of work to do, but the students are all very excited about the projects they are developing.
Tonight, due to limited internet access at the Centre itself, I will be working on developing some students’ projects and pointing them in potential directions for models or tests. If only we had library and internet access that we so easily take for granted in the United States…