Finally we can tell you about our latest school workshops which have been a stimulating endeavour, to say the least. But to be able to spark a bit of sense of awe and wonder about our planet and the Universe in the kids is the best present of the world.
We left you that night in San Jose de Suaita, where we actually got offered an entire house for us. Over people we had met in Guadalupe, we got to know people in San Jose de Suaita who put us in touch with their friends who put us in touch with their relatives etc. etc. and we ended up with a finca for the horses and a house for us in the centre of the village. We got invited for dinner, picked up and invited for breakfast and escorted to the school in the morning.
There, we met the coordinator at 6h30 who directly took us to the ‘formacion’. This is the weekly assembly on Monday mornings where the entire school participates. After several morning prayers, the weekly schedule was presented - by student representatives. Such a fantastic idea to incorporate the students so much in the organizational activities! We were quite impressed! After the formalities, we were introduced and gave an introductory talk in front of the entire school (around 300 people). And then, the craziness began!
Between 7h30am and 3h30pm we organized workshops, observations and talks for every class of the school.
Kira started with an eco workshop for the little ones. They were supercute and told us a lot about deforestation that was happening in some areas. Afterwards we rebuild the solar system with our inflatable planets with another class. In the first break, we took out the solar telescope and started observing. Then, we went with the teenagers and built the solar system to scale with play dough over the entire school yard. We continued with solar observations in the second break…..and so on. Between 1h30 and 2pm we had a quick lunch with some of the professors and then went on doing activities with the older classes. The last was a talk about the invisible Universe for the graduating class. Every time, questions did not stop. The kids of this school were definitely the most agile ones we had so far. And they were supersuper nice! When they found out that we got robbed, they came to offer us their toys and even money - which we of course did not accept. And then they started to draw paintings for us - really so cute!
In the afternoon, we were of course dead after this marathon - and slightly sunburnt after observing for quite a few hours. But so so happy!
The next morning, we took off towards Guepsa, but on the way we passed through a little town called San Benito. We stopped as it was right at the river to give the horses a bath. The people from the village came along and helped us bathing the horses.And again, we could not have met nicer people. They invited us for drinks and then for lunch. And they did not stop asking us to stay. We really would have loved to stay in this little village and promised to at least do a little activity for the school. So we took out the telescope again and observed the Sun with the Coronado. Kira also took out the magnifying glasses and observed leaves with the little ones. The atmosphere in this village was simply amazing....
We did not arrive in Guepsa before dark. But it did not matter as we received two police officers as guidance. Some commander in Bogota apparently decided that we need protection (more in another blog). For this evening, it was great! They invited us in a house of their friend’s family where we were welcomed with a dinner and fresh bed. Again, amazing! The horses could stay in the field just around the house - simply perfect. The evening we spent chatting the Mum until late about life in the countryside. In the morning, she took us milking her cow before we left towards Barbosa. And again, on the way, we stopped in a small town called Cite and observed with the entire school the sun - by now there have been easily more than 500 students that looked through our solar telescope, the Coronado PST from Meade, distinguishing solar flares. Thank you, Meade Instruments, so much for supporting this project! Although the nights have been cloudy, we did manage to observe the moon in the mornings with the kids of our hosts, who probably never went to school that motivated :)
Thank you for enabling us to share the wonders of our solar system. The Universe is amazing and for us, these days have been fantastic!