Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 20 - Architecture

So you've seen a little bit of the architecture of the school, right? It's a nice example of sustainability. The red bricks were all made by the parents and students when the school was first built, from locally available materials.

The doors are all carved from locally available wood, and if the door frames (for those doors that have them) don't match up and the doors don't close completely, it's okay because it's a school, not a private house. For the relative cost, and the purpose of keeping students out of the rain, it mostly works. And rain isn't usually the problem in this part of AP. Actually, it's not just Telangana - having too much rain's not really a problem in many parts of the state.

The openness of the place is most useful for letting the wind through on hot days. The construction is well-suited for that.

The whole point of this is that the school was built cheaply and sustainably (and with the community's involvement, which keeps them invested in sending their kids to school). Because of that, a group of 138 architecture from Hyderabad have come to see the school. They arrive in three busloads and walk around measuring everything with their handy tape measures.

After they've eaten lunch, they sit down along the corridor for a while as the headmasters and teachers talk a little bit about the RDF, the school, and their philosophy of teaching. Some of them don't understand Telugu, but they pay attention when my mom and I are given the microphone since we speak mostly in English.

The school needs more volunteers, especially people who can talk to the students in English, and I say as much. I hope we've inspired at least a couple of them to come back when they have a holiday and help out at the school. Afterward, a pair of students come up to my mother and say that they will in fact come volunteer. The teachers also say that they will talk with and remind the students even after they go back. So I guess it's worked, at least a little bit. Having college students from Hyderabad as volunteers is much more sustainable for the school and useful for the kids (since these college students know how the Indian school system works). I hope they follow up on this.

P.S. I'm going to be spending the rest of the day writing up the procedures for all of the experiments I've done that I didn't bring with me. I only have a couple more days here, and I want to make sure the teachers have everything they need to continue doing the experiments. They've been sitting in on the classes and helping me explain things in Telugu  to the students, but it's nice to have a written copy.

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