We arrived at Snay L’a and the Pagoda to great excitement, three small children, all on push bike arrived just as we pulled up and the smallest one expertly jumped off before they stopped and laughing, ran to his friends, the chatter from the kids was similar to a flock of starlings and the reason for such excitement is its movie night! Despite the fact they were only going to watch hygiene and environmental movies, the novelty and therefore excitement was tangible.
I asked to use the Pagoda rather than our school because I anticipated a lot more than just the 80 registered students and I was right! My original projector has a lot of trouble coping with the heat in an enclosed space, so at least this time with around 140 little bodies and several larger ones, it wouldn’t matter because the Pagoda is vast and is open on two sides to capture any passing breeze.
One of the main reasons for showing films about the environment is because I want to lead into the next phase of development at our school. Currently as you know we are building a sewing and creativity workshop, but the next thing we need is a washhouse and toilets and I want to build this by making and building with bottle bricks. This way we can clean up the village, reduce the pollution and provide some free building materials. Bottle bricks are simply plastic water bottles stuffed with other plastics and polystyrene – a brilliant way to get rid of non biodegradable rubbish and turn it into something good.
I’ll tell you more about this next time but for now, I hope you can imagine the scene as 140 children and many curious villagers learned how regular hand washing can reduce sickness and how plastics cause pollution and harm the environment. After each clip we had a mini quiz and I gave the correct answers a prize of soap and toothpaste. There was so much laughter and applause that I learned something myself on the subject of film choice, I thought they would be disappointed not to watch the Lion King or similar, but yet again I underestimated the thirst for knowledge, the opportunity to improve lives and the excitement this brings.