Picking the streets

Peace Corps / Thursday, June 9th, 2011

This week has been more work for me than the entire month of May. Partially this is because I had classes cancelled left and right all through May due to holidays, exams and random other events. Partially this is because Jacque and I are going all out trying to keep up with our twenty 8th graders.

We’ve gotten over the fact that we are acting as gloried baby-sitters and we’re enjoying playing with the kids. When we can, we’re working in some sort of educational items. Mostly, we’re trying to wear the kids out before we wear ourselves out for the day.

Today we were the proudest of ourselves and more importantly the kids. We decided to have an impromptu trash clean up project. We started by going over what trash is buried safely, what is burned safely and what should be processed by waste disposal. It surprised me a bit when there were unanimous “Yes you should,” when we asked them if they should burn plastic bags, plastic bottles and¬†Styrofoam. We informed them, “Nope,” and we hope it stuck.

Next we split them into two teams and asked them to race to fill up three bags of trash. After the initial telling them that they can’t empty trash cans into their bags because it defeats the purpose, they set off to fill them up. I followed a group of the girls around and helped them and gave advice. We filled our bags and returned, picking up a plastic bag on the way and filling it up.

When we got back, Jacque was waiting for us and gave the girls more bags to fill, they eagerly grabbed them and went off to fill them. That was a moment of pride.

Now, we had promised the team who collected more trash a treat and it fueled their enthusiasm a bit. No, I think it fueled it a lot. When it came time for weigh in, fights started over the ethics of each team’s trash collecting and try as I might, I couldn’t get the group to settle down.

In the end, we collected a fair amount of trash in forty-five minutes. Jacque and I now have plans to implement days of trash collecting with the rest of the school involved and maybe the other schools in town. The prize? Pride and a clean town.

Impromptu Trash Collection
Students with their piles of trash they collected from the streets of Yampil.

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