Ngami Secondary School March 29, 2012
We started the morning at Ngami Secondary school. It is close enough to the convent to walk but Solomon was gracious enough to drive us. Ngami opened in 1982 but slumbered for a year after the opening year. “Slumbering” happens when a school’s performance isn’t up to par. Upon awakening the school has continued to improve in performance.
We were met by the principal, Patience, who talked about the history of the school and what some of the challenges are for the students. One of the main issues impeding the student’s education involves conflicts with animals. The main animal of conflict is the wild elephant. Apparently the elephants prevent students from getting to school safely.
Patience explained that the science scores have traditionally been low however Biology is much improved this year. Chemistry is also showing some improvement. From Patience’s office, we took tea in the science lab with the rest of the staff. As with the other schools, there is a 30 minute tea break in the morning and in the afternoon as well as an hour and a half for lunch.
The science lab was a large room with cement counter around the perimeter. There were several sinks and Bunsen burner jets around the counter. The supply room was well equipped with glassware and everything was very well organized. They even had a “fume hood” and a lab tech.
We were introduced to the 40 students chosen for SeaVuria as soon as tea was over. They started in small groups of 4-5 students and determined what their goals for this program would involve. They were curious about a number of things and had some great insight into water issues in their area. They are also very curious about how Seattle gets its water clean.
Jeff and Jamie took half outside to video while MM and I took the other half out for a trek to the school’s water source down the driveway, through the town, and past a small field. The water was in a holding chamber designed to allow the sediment to settle out. There was also a pump house to move the water to the school ensuring that students at Ngami don’t have to fetch water every day. Although this water has two chambers to allow sediment to settle out, it has no filtration system. So the water for this school is completely untreated.
Back at the school we did a short chemistry lesson with the SE200. I asked the students if they believed they could purify their water with a bit of salt. Involving the students was fun although one young man did the unthinkable when asked how we would know that we were really using salt-he tasted it! Not a scientific practice to be encouraged! One young man was extremely curious about how he could prove that the SE200 really makes chlorine. He was very excited to learn that that his teacher was going to bring back the tools to do just this.
As we left, the students suggested that their teacher be sent to Seattle to learn. Even better they suggested would be if they could come to Seattle!