Monday, August 18, 2008

Science Fair

I think I must be setting a record for number of blog entries in a small space of time! Iºve been in Nampula four times in the space of a month! So, back to my promise to write about science fair....

So, a week ago on Friday I packed up four of my kids: Mercedes, Ambasse, Anifo and Hortencia, three tenth grade boys, and one 8th grade girl, and the chem-fisica teacher Muela. Muela wanted to have a grand send off at the Concentracao (assembly), so we met at school, where my kids were shockingly out of uniform, and i was shockingly in flip flops, to give a brief talk and wave, before heading down to the road. Within the hour we were in a surprisingly comfortable car, where they seated us ONE PERSON PER SEAT. Wow. The livestock (about 20 goats) were even on top of the bus, so i thought we were living large. I really shouldn´t think such things, as it just sets me up for cosmic justice. After a little ways it became apparent that there were little holes in the ceiling, so the goat pee was soon pouring in. I had no idea that goats had such bladder capacity. My poor kiddos were squirming around trying to keep their projects you couldn´t open the windows our you would get more than just goat pee flying in. I had thought that I had seen everything in Mozambican public transport. Apparently not.

Slightly the worse for wear, we made it into Nampula, and walked on over to our rather nice accomodations at Hotel Tropical, where I had the first in a series of lovely hot showers. My kids had the rest of the day free to explore the city (two of the boys are city kids, and the other two had never been to Nampula). Anifo is from Alua, near Namapa, and I don´t know that he had ever experienced running water, or electricity not from a generator. It was fun seeing the excitement and wide eyed stares, as we drove through the city with multi-storied buildings!

The next morning was the fair itself, so we took ourself off to the Escola Sedundaria de Nampula. I was kind of shocked by their high school. It has multiple stories,tons of classrooms, and even has a gym! With lights! Amazing. So, we set up in the gym in a big arc. Each kid had his or her own table, plus we had an HIV information table, and a microscope table (the latter of which i manned through most of the fair--they had really good slides too, so i had fun showing kids how to use it, and explaining how it works, a lot of them were really blown away), and outside we had a display of HIV-AIDS posters that each school had put together. Throughout the morning the jury members walked around and talked to each kid about the project, and all of the visitors to the fair could vote on the HIV posters.

Although none of my kids won, Ambasse did get an honorable mention (his project was mixing baking soda and vinegar to produce CO2, collecting it in a condom (ie. balloon) and then adding a bug, which promptly died, showing that atmospheric oxygen is essential to life/respiration), and our HIV poster won Most Creative (honestly it wasnºt the most creative one, so iºm not sure how we won, but my kids were happy, which is what matters most to me). So then we had the afternoon off to hang out. There was supposed to be a tour of the university and med school, but apparently that fell through, so they decided on a trip to the museum instead. (That was the free time I used to write my last blog entry). The next morning we did some shopping around town, and went to the wood market, before catching a ride back to Namapa. Bizarrely there were no chapas at the bus stop, but we managed a connection to Namialo, from which we could try to get another bus. The best we could manage was a coca cola truck, with three of us in the cabin (Miguel was with us on his way back to Chiure), and the other four in the cargo area. Poor boys, I donºt think they were terribly comfortable. I didn´t ask them if it was better than goat pee. Tough call.

Overall, the trip was a success, the kids had fun, we made it to and back safely, and I think this will motivate Muela to keep things going next year even if my site doesnºt get another bio teacher. It was also the last time that I will see most of the PCVs who arenºt from my training group, so it was a nice opportunity to get in a last bit of quality time with some pretty cool people. Hopefully we´ll be able to keep in touch states side in the future. We probably won´t recognize each other though once we´re all properly bathed and dressed, and no one is wearing glasses!

I´m afraid this wasn´t the most excitingly written blog entry, Iºm rather distracted thinking about COS (close of service) conference this week! We´re all in Nampula now, and will be flying down to Maputo tomorrow (ice cream, thai food, hot showers, internet, yes!). I should be able to put up another update, and even respond to emails!


At 12:25 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I loved the story about the peeing goats. Haha.


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