Saturday, June 5, 2010

World Environment Day in Logaganeng

Today, 5 June 2010, is World Environment Day but since I have such a forward-thinking principal, we celebrated it at school yesterday.  This time of year is the end of a term, which means the learners are writing exams only, not attending class.  They may write 2 exams per day, then can loiter around school or go home.  Keeping that in mind, I thought to find some books in the library about energy, conservation, global warming, anything eco- or environmental, and make some lessons.

When I make lessons, they almost always involve drawing; both from me and the learners.  They really enjoy it, and it's something I know how to do.  So, I put together a short (20-25 minute) lesson on the environment for a smallish group on Thursday.  We looked up definitions, including rubbish, littering, recycling, looked at photos of floods, polluting factories, oil spills in the ocean, all sorts of things.  After we discussed the issue, I could see some lights coming on inside their heads.  They were thinking, and realizing that every action causes a much bigger and pivotal reaction, especially concerning our natural world.  It was super!  We were lucky to have the available books in our library (Thanks, Northern Cape Provincial Library Services!) but could have done without them if needed.  After our lesson, I charged them to make a drawing of something that inspired them about our lesson.  There were a few trees, animal and drawings of the world.

The next day, I gave my lesson again to the whole school, and all the kids were really interested.  My principal piggybacked off me and reiterated things in Setswana.  The note of her lesson was putting ideas into action, not just talking about recycling and making a difference, but DOING.  She brought garbage bags from home, and we split up into about 5 groups, and went forth to pick up rubbish from our village.  Woo hoo! Talk about exciting.  I used to do this in Stillwater, both with the City-wide initiatives and on my own, or with friends.  I am very passionate about being a good steward of the environment and educating others to do the same, but the problem seemed so...insurmountable here that I put off dealing with it until now.

When I say insurmountable, I mean townships just covered in litter.  There is no sanitation system here, people are burning their garbage and littering really badly, too.  I should take some pictures to add to this blog, I think.  I did take some photos of my group picking up rubbish yesterday.  They were so good!  The little girl was helping me pick up the small, hidden bits, and the boys enjoyed tackling the big junk.
I realize our village will probably be filled with rubbish by the end of the next term, but the point is to make a difference in the life of one person at a time.  I know these kids will think twice about throwing their snack wrappers out the bus window now that they have hauled bags of litter back to the school.  :)


  1. you are the most AWESOME PCV i know! i am so proud to know you & be your friend~

  2. Way to go, Jen. What did you do with the bags of trash?

    By the way, how are those kids at cleaning up oil spills?

  3. Who is this stillwater person who says such nice things about me?

    Of course, we incinerated the rubbish. Is it better than burying it underground? I don't really know. I am sure that a website exists to give the appropriate answer... Yeah, i think we will need several more lessons before we clean up petrol. If other PCVS are taking their kids to world cup games, surely i could take mine to the gulf coast!

  4. Wow Jenneffer I have a hard time getting George to pick up anything except a alum. can off the ground. Good job. Every child needs to be aware of cleaner environment no matter. Great pictures ,I never imagined Africa looking like that. I loved the elephant. Pam