October 24: United Nations Day.
On this day, we celebrate the diversity of different nations and cultures, and learn more about issues concerning the world at large, getting a step closer to becoming a true global citizen.
As the leader of our Round Square IDEALS committee, I assisted in the school assembly and hosted a UN Day workshop on providing access to clean water. With all necessary files on my computer, I headed over to the assembly hall to prepare.
It wasn’t until I ran all the way up 4 flights of stairs to the assembly hall that I was notified that laptops don’t connect to the projector…USBs only. And so down I went, back to our staff room to set up the workshop while another teacher fetched a USB to copy my files over.
By then, half an hour had passed, and our workshop group was still barely halfway done setting up. Hurriedly, I plugged my computer into the projector, set up the powerpoint, and answered a ton of questions as to what belongs where. Soon, the kids began pouring in.
We had to host 2 workshops: One with students from Years 7-10, and one with students from years 4-7. The older kids were calmer and easier to control, but a lot less enthusiastic than the younger ones.
Our workshop consisted of an activity (creating a water filter) and a presentation. My plan was to place filter paper in a water bottle, add sand and charcoal, and pour dirty water into it to filter out the dirt. The charcoal would absorb the smaller particles, and the sand would keep the larger ones out. It was simple.
In theory, at least.
With everything happening (Mid-terms coming up), I had not tested out our water filter beforehand. The students were having a hard time merely putting the filter paper into the bottle, not to mention pouring charcoal in. When they poured water in, some charcoal washed through as well, producing even dirtier water than before.
There was an awkward moment when one of the kids shouted: “IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF WE HADN’T FILTER THIS AT ALL!”
With all eyes on me, I came up with a way to save our workshop. “Did anyone get perfectly clear water?” I asked. “No”, came the unanimous reply. “Good,” I remarked, “Do you all see how hard it is to filter water now? Even with such a simple method as this, with materials like filter paper and plastic bottles, the water that comes out is often not clean. And yet, a lot of people today live in areas with only the same dirty water that you saw just now. It’s not that easy to convert dirty water into clean water, as you’ve discovered. They’re left there, stuck without an access to clean water.”
And with that, I saved the day. (Drops mic)
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