Thursday, December 4, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
2) It is often difficult for students to find the words to talk about their semester. It has been a very full 15 weeks with highs and lows and everything in between. The stories will come out slowly, perhaps over dinner or during a long car ride. It is a perfect chance to sit down and spend a few hours hearing about their adventures while your daughter downloads her photos. It will help if you ask specific questions – What were your Top Ten highlights of the semester? What word would you use to describe each girl or teacher? What was your favorite class? Talk about the people who influenced you during the semester. What outdoor activities did you like? Which parts of the semester were most challenging? What was the food like? It also may be helpful for your daughter to select a compilation of her photos to create a book from the semester.
Thanksgiving - In the last shopping trip students paired up to prepare and shop for necessary ingredients to cook their favorite Thanksgiving dishes. While everyone is missing their family traditions, they are excited to create their own. The group is pulling together to create side dishes such as apple salad, potato frittatas, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, no-bake peanut butter pie, no-bake pecan and apple pie, and a dessert called Pilgrim Hats. They are getting creative and, with no pie crusts in the store, and no oven, will mash Marie Biscuits together with butter to create the necessary bottom layer of the pies! Samkange is in charge of the main protein of the evening, and will cook Turkey! The Thanksgiving Chieflet will be in charge of the dinner ritual, pulling from student input.
Friday, November 28, 2014
by Maris B, junior, Wisconsin
based on “Bedlam in the Blood” (National Geographic - 07/07) article on malaria in science textbook
My darling Sofie,
Never has despair gripped my bones the way it does as I watch your little hand twitch and clench beneath the IV's tubes and needle. In the hospital, time seems to come to a stop. Sounds echo off its cavernous white walls and ceilings: ceilings that seem to be made to accommodate beasts much larger than ourselves. You have a window next to your bed with a plastic shade that you can pull up and down with a blue cord. I haven't mastered the contraption, though I yanked at it until a young nurse easily retracted it. I only wanted my girl to see the sinking orange sun. I tried to explain. Grandmother sits in the corner, wordlessly pinning sharp stitches into your loved teddy's leg. I know her heart goes numb. I know her heart grows numb. I have languished at your bedside for five long days. I won't let papa near you. The minute he started using your bednet for catching the slippery silver in the stream, I knew it would bring trouble to our doorstep. But no matter, this is not a letter of excuses, but a letter of apology. Apology for the awful pricks in your blue veins. Apology for the uncomfortable starch sheets, for the putrid smell of vinegar used on the floors, for the coma too.
The only thing I can think is: at least your arms don't ache from holding your panting baby brother at night. At least your legs aren't bruised from struggling with the cast iron pot of water. At least you can sigh into a cotton pillow and let your small body melt into the nested mattress like the lark on the wall paper around the headboard.
I write this letter so when you can't stir up dust with the other children, kicking around the ball, because your foot drags on the grass... when you are denied school because your eyes can't make meaning out of letters, you will still feel the sun on your face and the dirt in your toes. You will still wonder at the Mhbizi roaming the grasslands, the eagle in the sky, the darting fish in the stream, and life will still be large and brilliant and bright.
This is why, my Sofie, I watch the sun setting, knowing one day, if you open your eyes and rise from this bed, you may hear my apology, and in your heart, forgive me.
We pushed our earplugs into our ears, anticipating the grueling noise of rock grinding against rock. Pebbles poured in a stream from one level to the next. Our fluorescent yellow safety vests stood out in contrast to the graphite colored tubes and the cloudy sky, and our breath felt hot against the face masks we donned at the start of the tour. We ascended stairs to become mesmerized by monstrous vats of steaming gray liquid, bubbling and gurgling as it spilled over the edges.
Our science studies most recently took us to Nkomati mine, South Africa's only primary nickel producer. The mining consisted of underground and open field operations; we had the privilege to visit the open field – Pit B. Before the tour, the mining communications director organized presentations for our students about geology, rock engineering, and metallurgy. A fantastic opportunity to learn from our experiences, students grilled the scientists about geothermal gradients, physical stress on rocks, and the societal effects of mining on the surrounding population.
Meanwhile, in “official science class,” our theme song continues, and we have opened our investigation of water issues to problems of water scarcity. Students completed personal water use audits, comparing their water usage in their homestays, at TTS in general, and at home – this activity generated a fruitful discussion. After a brainstorm of all water usage, we ranked the importance of these needs and tried to clarify the relevance of these rankings. As we move into the final part of the semester, we are working to categorize all issues related to water based on their scope and duration – who does this issue affect and why? How long has this issue lasted? How realistic and costly is a solution? Whose responsibility is it to solve the problem?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Math Con students are practicing forming and asking questions to those they encounter in order to learn about local economies. They brainstormed questions for a tailor in Malawi, interviewed a mechanic in Zambia, and grilled our Zimbabwean driver and cook on their professions.
By Maia K, New York, Senior
Long, long ago
The KHOISAN people inhabited the Cape
LOOK! Here they come.
dark specks silhouetted in the swaying sea
growing unnaturally out of the horizon
Dutch East India Company slams into African shores.
Intending to be passers-by - Possible?
fill the RUMBLING stomachs of sailors
"Avoid contact", they said
"Don't get involved", they commanded.
MENTALITIES not lasting long
more More MORE
Europeans cannot pass by - Impossible
undistributable land distributed
unownable humans owned
walls of separation constructed from the ground to the sky
from human to human
brick by brick
piece by piece
European influence expanding, spreading
KHOISAN repopulation diminishing
foundations for future interactions poured and cemented
NOT Jan van Riebeeck
By Violet W, New York, Junior
We can achieve a separation
White from black
Milk from soot
Those beneath will know their place
Squatting in mud huts, digging earth, serving tea
Those chosen by God will know.
The two will not mix
One skin will never feel the warmth of the other
Purity is Godly.
If the chasm is wide enough,
the superior will not experience the displeasure of the inferior
Only a glimpse of a dark shadow
When liquid the color of their skin
appears to dilute coffee, the color of the shadow.
Developed by the white man.
The Apartheid Museum blew everyone away. After four hours of walking through the exhibits, students clamored for more. It was exciting to watch each student absorbed in the text, journals out, scribbling haunting quotes, taking in the photos, crying during the films. History continues to take the forefront in Johannesburg, where students are beginning to understand the social and emotional repercussions of the Apartheid era legislation such as the Land Act, the Group Areas Act, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, and more. Events such as the Soweto Uprising and Sharpeville are becoming familiar.
We have also had the honor of speaking with former Freedom Fighters. Erol Ally was detained at age 14 for four months, spending much of that time in solitary confinement. Currently the CEO of the center we stayed at the first few nights in Johannesburg, he shared his story with us highlighting the role of youth in the resistance movement. As the students gathered closely around Erol, he pointed out the window to caves on the neighboring hill where Nelson Mandela hid when he went underground. Today we head to a different museum, this one commemorating students shot by the Apartheid police. Another Freedom Fighter, Anastasia, will meet us there to share her experiences growing up as a white woman in the resistance movement. We look forward to her thoughts on violence as a method to creating a just world.
Coming off the midterm assignment, The Legend of Nyami Nyami, our students were able to put together a comprehensive newspaper for our parent visit entitled TTS Times. From logos to crossword puzzles, our budding team of journalists created and curated The Traveling School's first newspaper for the semester. Our students included activity reflections from our travels, a guide to TTS fashion, a crossword puzzle, iShuffle playlists, #TTS Probs, what is TTS to you?, and your Noodle identity. We hope to have this publication published on the website soon in order to share it with all of or families and friends who weren't able to join us in Chilo Gorge! More recently the students have completed a photography/caption assignment that took a spin on Humans of New York and focused on the people they met on their homestay. Looking towards the end of the semester our students are currently working on an opinion piece based on issues currently facing Southern Africa. We look forward to our students learning to use their writing style to illustrate their opinion and be able to voice their views on issues facing our current home.
What is development? What is globalization? What is poverty? These are the questions MC students are grappling with. After visiting SKY (Soweto Kliptown Youth), a youth empowerment center in a shantytown, students are not sure of the definition of poverty. According to the UN, poverty means living on less than $1 a day. The youth at SKY said they weren't poor, yet some were AIDS orphans, grew up with challenging health and sanitation environments in shacks built of corrugated tin and mattress springs, with no electricity or running water. What is spiritual, psychological, and educational poverty? What is the role of security and community in regards to poverty? What does access and choice have to do with poverty?
Recently, students compared different development perspectives, the needs-based approach versus the ABCD approach (asset-based community development) and brainstormed the pros and cons of entering communities with these various mindsets. Next up is understanding the WTO with a reading that outlines 10 benefits of the WTO and 10 arguments against the organization.
Marisa T., California, Sophomore
Interview with Quinnie
by Ava S, Montana, Junior
|Quinnie and a furry friend|
Since her semester in 2006, Quinnie has continued to find inspiration from her time with TTS. “It re-inspired me to love learning”. She comments. Quinnie reflects that the knowledge she gained on her semester was practical giving her the confidence to travel alone. Because if TTS’ positive influence, Quinnie has returned to give that gift to other girls.
“It feels really wonderful to make a full circle”, she says Quinnie is surprised with how dynamic and demanding the teacher role is. Not only does she co-teach Science, iLife, and Global Studies, but Quinnie also leads crews and manages the TTS blog. However, despite her leadership roles she continues to learn and wants to attend classes. Ultimately, Quinnie is thrilled to be back with TTS, explaining and impacting girls’ lives.
Outside of The Traveling School, Quinnie works to combine her love for the outdoors and teens. She created an Environmental Summit for middle schoolers, a day where students learn sustainable farming and environmental practices. She also works closely with disabled teens taking from outdoor adventures and encouraging them to try new things. Looking, forward, she hopes to het her masters in counseling to continue her interactions with teens. Quinnie says that she is proud of the work she has done and looks forward to continuing the pursuit of her passions.
Quinnie Mawhinney’s compassionable, encouraging attitude has a brightening effect on those around her. I am truly grateful that she will be an integral part of our school our journey and our family here at TTS.
Interview with Violet W
by Maris B, Wisconsin, Junior
|Violet reading to school children|
Violet lives in Manhattan with her dad and little brother. She loves taking photos and plans on being a photographer when she’s older. She bakes pastries and hikes around the city. I’ve noticed Violet likes small things, for instance she told me “I keep my window open all winter because I like snow”. When I asked her why she said, “Because its quiet and pretty”. She also loves riding the train because she doesn’t have a car and she enjoys watching things blur by.
Violet likes her emotional space. She goes to museums or explores parts of New York. There are a few special places she likes to go. Inwood Park in Harlem for example, or on her road looking at the city and gathering herself.
While in Africa she still manages to get this time in. Every morning at 5:30am, when everyone is still asleep, Violet climbs outs of her tent and finds a quiet place to sit and read a book (more recently Hemingway). On one of these occasions I found her perched on a huge grey boulder looking at the waves at Lake Malawi.
A pivotal moment for her was when she realized that being alone didn’t mean you were the ‘lone wolf’ and that its perfectly fine too not be social all the time. She was happy to understand that emotional space is healthy for a person that can take energy from alone time. She says that being emotionable stable is incredibly important to ones well being and making good choices to protect her emotional well-being is vital.
It’s incredible that Violet has managed to figure out exactly what she needs be it cake or a walk in the park. Violet understands the world’s simple beauty and she knows that life isn’t about moving from one activity to the next, it’s about stopping to enjoy