This past week I celebrated Earth Day with my environmental/ health club. There are 8 districts across the province, and each district has an event once a month, so there were 8 Earth Day events this week. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was only able to attend four of the events.
To be a part of even four of these meetings was pretty great, so I'm not upset, though I am trying to prevent the schedule conflicts from happening again. This organization, the Red Ambiental, began in 2009 and is still working out a lot of fundamental organizational kinks. Fixing and improving those kinks is what I am focussing on with this group right now, so I am hoping in the future we are able to adjust the planning and programming of these events. We have a meeting next months to evaluate and discuss successes and challenges so far in this school year. I am optimistic that there are opportunities to change the things that make me want to go crazy during the planning process of these meetings, and make me want to scream while I deal with 60 kindergarten and grade school kids at an event programmed for high school students. I'm sure we can make it better, and I'm proud to be involved with it in the first place. I think the club as a whole has improved since I arrived and it is only getting better. Poco a poco. Little by little. We'll get there.
But in the meantime, I have to admit that even with some chaos and confusion, this is a pretty awesome thing that we have going on. Because of the Red Ambiental, kids are asked to consider and understand a lot of social issues. Plus, they get the chance to practice critical thinking, public speaking, and social skills. I'm a fan. Hell, I learned from a Peruvian teenager this week that Earth Day was created by a Wisconsin senator. Gotta love Wikipedia en Español, and the Red Ambiental for bringing me that surprising moment of State pride. All Wisconsin love aside, I love the Red Ambiental and I think it's a great organization. I'm really excited to have this group to work with am very happy with the progress we are making so far this year.
In honor of Earth Day, this month's meetings focussed on recycling, solid waste management, and a variety of other green topics. My favorite part was playing trash basketball with them, as this was fun and gave me a way of testing their knowledge on/ showing them what you can and cannot recycle. While we're still pretty far away from the idea of efficient recycling, at the very least, 'trash burning' was not one of the options, and the kids are becoming more and more aware that trash fires are wrong. This is progress. I loved trash b-ball, even though it meant a lot of stinky milk cans and dirty old plastic bottles I had to wash, then haul around the province all week. Would have been a little easier if someone wouldn't have let her host family throw away my first bag of recyclable treasures...ahem, Kerri Maccarone, but lucky for me, there is plenty of trash to go around. In any case, it was a fun and busy week. Here are some pictures... I had a hard time choosing which ones to post, because there are so many fun ones. So you get a photo heavy post this time around.
Meeting #1: Paijan. Friday, April 20th.
This group made a giant Christmas tree decoration from milk cans.
Paijan: Trash basketball!
Meeting #2: Chocope. Monday, April 23rd.
This was in Teddy's site, so he and Kerri joined me for this one. Great to have them there.
Chocope: These girls were adorable.
Four years old and making presentations. Amazing.
Chocope: The municipality donated prizes for the schools with the best presentations.
This one got a first aid kit, and the other got a water cooler. I love those ideas :)
Meeting #3: Ascope, Wednesday April 25th.
Ascope has the best parades.
Ascope: Our town doctor and nurse giving presentations on the health theme of the month, Dengue.
Meeting #4: Macabi Alto, Friday April 27th.
Sixty kids. Talking trash and making plans.
Macabi: Trash basketball. I love this game.
Nice way to end out the week's events.