Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dia del Agua

OMG. I´ve typed it out twice now and both times it´s been erased! Blogger, why didn´t you save it in the drafts!¿? Peace Corps office internet, why do you just stop working?!¿...

3 times the charm, this time I’m writing this on my laptop with my pendrive.

Monday March 22nd is Dia Mundial de Agua or World Water Day. This is not a day to reenact the movie Water World with Kevin Cossner but instead a day to recognize one of the most important elements known to man, water. What I used to teach to the students for survival class when I worked at Fairview Lake YMCA was the rule of 3’s. On average a person can live 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food (and it takes 3 hours to build a good shelter, so, think about that for the next time your lost in the woods).
So, only three days to live without water.. I’d say that it’s more important than gold! Our planet has a lot of water on it but only 3% of it is freshwater in rivers and lakes and aquifers underground. That’s not a lot for a planet with more than 6 billion people on it and unequal water distribution. And unfortunately, like the masochists we are, we’re doing a good job of contaminating what little freshwater we have! We’re using it and contaminating it faster than it can be purified and replenished by the water cycle. When the rain falls from the sky (after being evaporated up there of course) it gets purified by passing through swamps and tree roots that help decompose those toxins we put in the water and air; but with us chopping down our trees and filling in our swamps our water stays contaminated.
Agriculture, I feel, has the biggest effect on our water. Huge amounts of pesticides get washed into our streams by rain, animal waste products from factory farms get dumped into our rivers not to mention that the production of one pound of beef uses 2500 gallons of water. There is much this world can do to not waste so much precious water, and that’s what dia del agua is about, raising awareness about water. Please hold while I get off my soap box.
So what did I do for DDA? I went to the schools of course! I had planned a 3 day event with the vice director with the 4th 5th and 6th graders, morning and afternoon session (Paraguayans only go to school for half the day, so there are 2 different sessions each day. So everything I did I had to do it twice). The first day I planned a charla (lecture) about water, where it comes from, what we’re doing to it and how we can help cuidar (care for) it. I stayed up until 2 am the night before getting it ready, making a lindo (pretty) charla paper, getting ready my demonstrations and writing out a script I could look at. The morning of my charla I got up at 5:30am, was at the school by 7 and was told by the vice directora that instead of doing it with the 4th 5th and 6th graders I’ll just do it for the whole school (k-6) right after announcements. In the morning the whole school lines up in front of the flag pole, so after announcements she had them all sit down where they were and I had my audience, about 200 kids. At this point I had realized I’d forgotten my script at home and realized I had to wing it, and so I did. It went really well, my first charla in the school! The students and teachers alike loved the demonstrations (one involved my pouring a glass of water and putting something in it like dirt or soy sauce pretending to be oil and asking if they wanted to drink it, they especially loved when I put the cow poo in it). I did the same charla for the afternoon group as well.
The next day was games and activities. I had three different games and split the kids up into three groups so they could go to one station and switch to the next when it was over. The teachers helped me with that which was awesome. The last day (Monday the 22nd DDA) the directora had a 15 minute movie that we decided to show the kids. Since there were a lot of them we had to split them up into groups and they came to this other building where we had a projector set up. I hadn’t seen the movie before but after the first time I thought ..oh no.. It was so boring!!! Not meant for 4th – 6th graders!! I had to watch it 7 different times too. This prompted me to ask the library at the PC office if we had movies to rent out, educational ones that would hold kids attention. We don’t. PC doesn’t buy them so they would only be there upon donation. I’ll have to get that planet earth series in Spanish or something next time.
So it was kinda exhausting doing everthing twice (and I’m doing it again with another school, only one days worth of stuff though) but it felt good to finally start doing something. The next project the school wants is to start a garden. Many schools here in PY have gardens to meet the requirement for the trabajo and technologia class (work and technology). I haven’t gotten to do anything with it yet though since it’s been semana santa (Easter) and we’ve had a five day vacation (wed-fri no school).

Whew I did it! 3 times the charm!!

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