I can’t believe that I will be back home in Lancaster one week from now. While I am really excited to see my family, friends, and three dogs, taste good American home-cooking, have a Starbucks coffee!! I also am dreading leaving the kids and our Education Centre. These last eight weeks have flown by, and I know this week will fly even faster since it is so jam-packed with final projects and ceremonies.
I am currently writing this blog while we are all sitting in our living room, rocking out to Ryan’s radio show on Top FM, on which ELI Africa just enjoyed an extensive shout-out and a special song request. And now Vedant is being featured live on the show and thanking all of our students! We are so excited to have our new relationship with Top FM and can’t wait to welcome them to our Centre this weekend.
Yesterday was our last day off, and we spent it on the beach at Mount Choisi with all of our students. The beach was gorgeous, although the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. The day was filled with ice cream, chicken fights, sand burials, and general fun and excitement. We had a great time hanging with the kids, outside of the framework of classes at the Centre. Our relationships have developed past typical student-teacher bonds, and we truly become close friends with many of them, who really aren’t too far from us in age. Thankfully many of them have Facebooks, and we have been trying to create accounts for those who don’t in an effort to maintain contact. Unfortunately, however, many lack access to a computer, so we are going to trust in long-distance mailing…
Today was a very special day at the Centre. We welcomed seven new students today from Century Welfare Association, a school for students with special needs. They fit in right away, kicking soccer balls and throwing frisbees across the yard. I think all of the Fellows were very proud to watch our regular attendees warmly welcome the new students, lead them on a grand tour, and immediately incorporate them into their fun and work. Although they did not stay long enough for science class today, I am looking forward to introducing a special student-teacher session, and having my frequent students re-teach some earlier lessons to our new kids.
We took a break from working on the science fair today to do an astronomy lesson, with a special guest lecturer, our very own poéme teacher. The Fellows have discovered through the last eight weeks that Ed has a secret passion for the stars, and can go into long discourses on black holes, wormholes, and more. I think the students enjoyed the special class, and we modeled the scale of our solar system using a pamplemousse (grapefruit) as the sun, and the tip of a ballpoint pen as the earth. We had them guess how far apart they thought they were, and they were shocked when I ran out the door of the Centre and stood outside in the yard, shouting into the lab to make our point. Ed then explained the life cycle of a star and characteristics of a black hole, allowing the students were able to apply their knowledge of mass, density, and gravity.
But we will have to return to hard work on the Science Fair tomorrow. The competition is Saturday! And we have too have all of the projects ready for all of our visitors coming to see our Centre, including representatives from the US Embassy and Top FM, and the families and doctors on Sunday. I have been extremely impressed with the students’ level of dedication to their projects. Many have taken their notepads home and come back with pages upon pages of research, excited to show off their hours of work. The next few days will be crazy busy but also filled with fun, full of experiments and model-building. I can’t wait to see the final products!