Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day @ Greenschool

As we all know, everyday is Earth Day at Greenschool. It is a daily ritual to teach the kids how to plant trees, flowers, & plants, as well as make them knowledgeable about their impact on the planet. But when the actual holiday comes around, its a pretty big deal here in Sibang Kaja, Bali. We stop the whole school day to celebrate this special time. And who else would be better to plan the event than the "Green Studies" teachers...? Needless to say, Matt & I had a lot of planning under our wings, but when all said & done, the day went as smoothly as we could have hoped for.
The morning began with a huge gathering on the soccer field, all students from pre-k to 10th grade were present as well as all the teachers. Matt & I set up 10 stations which all the classes rotated between, and each station had a different Earth friendly relay. For instance, one of the relays was kinda like the ol' egg & spoon race, except they were carrying mini planet Earth balls (they had to save the planet-obviously, it couldn't drop!). At Greenschool, each student is a member of a house, they are either a member of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water, these "houses" create a healthy rivalry where the kids compete against one another on a continual basis. In this event they were split up into their houses & competing against each other, so they were very competitive in a quite positive manner. By the 10th round, the kids & the teachers were exhausted~it was beautiful.
Matt & I also organized an assembly which started with a presentation the 10th graders had put on to teach the rest of the school about the history of Earth Day. They also went into detail about their "houses" and explained how each element is very much their own entity, but they all depend on each other for survival. After the 10th grade was done, there was a dance for Saraswati Day (a Balinese Holiday which also falls on Earth Day). It is a celebration of the goddess of knowledge & education. After that we had a few musical performances, and then it ended with a
very deep drama production by grade 6. They set the tone for the rest of the assembly, and reminded everyone why it is so imperative for us humans to start making a difference & respect Mother Earth. Their presentation was called Altars of Extinction, they made large cut outs of extinct & endangered animals & performed a ritual which was accompanied by a women playing the singing bowls. The whole crowd was silent as one of the students introduced all of the animals & stated whether they were extinct or endangered. It resonated with everyone, our hearts all collided with empathy.
The last part of the day was very student oriented. We arranged with all the teachers for each grade to organize their room with their own Earth Day theme, where guests could tour the school & see what they had prepared. We also had NGO's in the heart of school & many students were raising money for worthy causes like Japan & non-profits like SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society). There was everything from paper making, planting seedlings, Earth day pledge signing, to Green Smoothies for Japan & massages for monkeys. It was a pretty neat tour. And did I mention that John Butler was present.. ;)
Finally, the day came to an end as we all gathered again in the Mepentigan for one last song. Our staff band performed "Living in Bali" (our school song) and everyone in the whole school sung it at the top of their lungs. It was an incredible way to end the day..

"There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet." ~Brooke Medicine Eagle

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