Malaysia School Workshop, 2nd Day
We got an early start today (6:45 AM!) because it is a long drive to SMK Seri Kundang from our hotel. Our team is made of former SEED student Simon Lim and myself plus three volunteers: our beloved Doreah (former SEED coordinator), the energetic Lily Ngeau (DCS), and the handsome Abdul Hanan (CSL) who looks like a young Malaysian Johnny Depp.
We were welcomed by the school "Kompang" the traditional Malaysian drummers, young men dressed in colorful clothes. This school has 1,300 students and is built in one large rectangular building 4 stories high with a large courtyard in the middle.
As culture demands it, here I was invited to make a speech in which I mentioned the entire SEED staff and the volunteers who make SEED possible. The students were excited because it is the first time they have seen a white woman, other than on TV!
We just started the water testing in the school lab surrounded by 37 eager students,12 teachers, head of the parents association, and the headmistress (pictured with me at right), going back and forth between English and Bahasa, pairing each students' group with a teacher and one of us.
Some of the students' teams names they came up with this week are funny: "Escargot", "3G" (for gorgeous, genius and generous), "Selamber aje" (phonetically it sounds like Schlumberger but in Bahasa it means "casual").
Warm but not too hot today as yesterday storm cooled the air but created floods in the city ... which also cut the power in the hotel I was staying in for hours. I left early this morning in the dark inside and outside.
The teachers and students are excited about our program of water testing and cement experiment. They want to collaborate with SEED because of our science exploration workshops. They already have 40 computers and Internet provided by the government. This is wonderful as we can focus on supporting their STEM education without having to invest in hardware.
They have been involved with us since the December 2011 SEED National Camp, and then with Youthcan.
The teachers are mostly women and the school is coed. Their enthusiasm is rooted in making science fun, practial experience, exploring interesting issues such as water and working in teams. Their attention is intense; there is no need for authority. This is the best indicator of engagement!
Lily Ngeau Doreah Jaluladin
Kompang drum ceremony
Abdul Hanan Simon Lim
School facilitators Students