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We had planned to work with the local high school English class on Monday and Tuesday. We wanted to connect with the young people in Agua Buena and learn about their hopes and dreams, as well as listen to their perspectives on their community. We wondered what sustainability meant to them.
I had met with the English teacher earlier and we had planned to do a project together. This was the first time CAN has had a formal interaction with this high school, so I didn’t know what to expect.
On Monday morning we met with 24 students, all in their final year of high school. We started the day by interviewing each other. Our group had photos to share, including ones that showed ways they live their lives sustainably. Partners then introduced each other to the whole class.
Many students had ambitions of going to college and were thinking of becoming engineers. We did not hear much about their ideas related to the environment. But in some ways, it seemed like the environment was just part of their normal lives — not something that they reflect on. We decided that the next day we would use bamboo to build recycling bins for the school.
By the time we arrived the next day, the teacher had gathered all of the supplies. Both the high school students and our group jumped in making the plans, cutting the bamboo, and pounding it into the ground. We marveled how the students were free to use machetes without any special supervision. It's a tool they've known how to use since they were young. Unfortunately, we ran out of bamboo before we finished the second bin. We had to leave the completion of the project in the capable hands of the teacher and his students.
The exchange with the students was good. I think there is potential here to develop this into a longer-term relationship through CAN’s Field Studies and future courses.