Today was doomsday, but it went really well! For the past week and a half, Sam, Dahoon, Mekhi, Teacher Alan, Teacher Paula, and I have been preparing for a visit from two Mexican schools. We planned to teach the students twenty different Eco-technologies that they could implement in their own lives to improve their personal sustainability, home efficiency and overall impact on the Earth. To prepare, we have had many practices in both Spanish and English and I suspect far more stress and nerves than any of us are willing to admit. Yet, no matter how ready we were, today the students arrived! This is what happened:
We woke up at seven as usual for yoga and a quick breakfast of eggs, beans, and granola. At 9:00 the first group of nineteen kids and their teachers arrived from a rural school outside Huatusco. After introductions and a great presentation on climate change from Teacher Paula, I led the group in a game of elbow tag. Afterwards, we broke into small groups with or without translators and led our new friends to four different Eco-technology stations. I started with the dam, water pump, and bamboo bridge, then moved through the efficient ovens and stoves, lights, solar panels, water filtration systems, cooler, ecological toilets, and compost, also stopping to discuss firewood, mushroom farming, gardens, food forests, and tire staircases. I particularly enjoyed talking to Eugenio, an awesome student who helped me with Spanish grammar and took a large interest in sustainability. After our tour, we reunited with the others on the main porch to share what we had learned. Our Mexican friends brought us wonderful homemade snacks and also shared the process behind their school’s recycling system. We circled up on the lawn for a Big Sit and Yurt Circle and took many photos together before waving goodbye our new friends. After a quick lunch, debrief, and imaginary nap, it was time for round two!
The second group of students was much larger, with twenty-nine students from an urban Huatusco school. These students were much more lively, distractible, and outgoing, though they too seemed to enjoy learning about our ecological systems. Overall, both groups were excellent, and learned a lot about Eco-technologies while teaching us about their own systems at home. After running through the activities a second time, we were all mostly exhausted, though we did have enough energy to take even more photos and walk our friends down to their pickups. They tried to convince us to come back with them to Huatusco, but unfortunately we had to decline. Heading back to the house, it felt like we had made an actual connection with other kids as well as finally mastering the information we had been so stressed about. Back at the house, we took time to stare tiredly into space, eat food, and finish our chores, and then went over the river to herd the sheep.
On the way to meet the apprentices, we met Oscar, our fifteen-year-old shepherd friend. We talked to him for a while about his life in Las Cañadas and taught him some English phrases, before starting a baseball game with a dog and some rocks. We herded the sheep, caught up with our apprentice friends, and then returned to eat dinner and practice our songs. It turns out that both of the injured lambs died in the past few days, a fact that made me extremely sad. I hope that the rest of the lambs live on into the future.
After dinner it was time to celebrate Dahoon’s birthday! Even though it is his birthday tomorrow, we decided to celebrate both days because it is currently his birthday in Korea. We ate the delicious leftovers of solar banana bread prepared by Sam and Teacher Alan, just as our neighbors showed up to sing with us and eat even more Mexican bread! After eating far too much sweet bread and planning for a Quaker renewable energy campaign, we collapsed on wooden chairs to watch the end of Forks Over Knives. We are currently looking forward to Dahoon’s birthday tomorrow and particularly Sam’s secret plan! Have a lovely day,