After waiting almost two months for a reply, and nearly giving up, the non-profit Sustentarte contacted me and offered to meet with me to discuss my potential participation in the organization. Sustentarte, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is dedicated to promoting sustainable development through educational projects involving school children and through courses open to the public. Their projects range from natural building and native forest restoration to environmentally-focused theater and art. If my first meeting went well I would be working with teenagers aged kids to help them build a bike shed for their school (…and it went well!).
When I met with Daniel, one of the directors of Sustentarte, it was a real pleasure. We hit it off and Daniel officially invited me to assist at a school for a semester-long project. As we talked about my past experience as a preschool teacher and the varied classes I have taken on natural building, our mutual enthusiasm made hours pass as if they were seconds. We realized we were late to the first class of the project that I would be working on! Upon arrival, I met the students and the coordinators of the project – all of whom were lovely and welcoming.
As “homework” I was charged with writing a short Bio for the Sustentarte website, which I have posted here; although it is in Portuguese, sorry. In addition, I will be putting together a presentation for the lecture-based portion of the class. This PowerPoint, due in a few weeks, will be about various sustainable initiatives in California with a focus on youth action and engagement. I want these bright Brazilian high-schoolers to see what their peers are doing sustainability-wise in California. There are so many wonderful programs it will be hard to pick and choose.
Next week we prepare materials for testing combinations of mud, earth, straw, and sand. The strongest mix made from these local materials will be used in construction. Exciting hands on work lies ahead!