Young Children as Advocates
Dana Bentley, Beginner North Teacher
Betty Chan, Beginner North Teacher
Today B North did some thinking about our plans for our water project. As a part of our research, we contacted the education director of the Georgie Badiel Foundation with some research questions. These questions and the responses from the foundation will help us to frame our action choices for our project. Our questions and the foundation’s responses are below:
- Can we mail water to Africa? This is a very good question and the answer is that it would cost too much money to send water to Africa. So we are trying to make it easier for the people who live there to get water themselves.
- Can we take a field trip to Africa to dig wells? You are very wonderful to want to go to Africa to dig wells! My own daughter, Megan, has been to Africa many times to help the people. But she went when she was much, much older than you are. I also went to Africa one Summer. BUT, I think you are still a bit young to go there. And Africa is very far away! Your families would miss you much too much.
- How can we help you dig a well? What we really need is money for the supplies and workers who can build the wells in Burkina Faso. It costs a LOT to build a well. Money will help us build a well or fix a broken well so the people will have water!
- How will we send a well since it's heavy? This is a very good question, but I am sorry to say we cannot really mail a well. In Africa, we buy the supplies that we need to build a well and then we get people to dig the well. It is not that easy because we must make sure there is water in the ground before we dig the well.
- How will we know how to dig a well? When we dig a new well, we ask a scientist to help us guess a good spot to dig the well. Once she tells us where a good spot is, we start digging. That is a very good question!
- How many wells do you need? We need thousands of wells in Africa. We also need to fix thousands of wells that are broken. It is a bit like when your family calls a plumber and she comes to your house to fix the pipes. That is what we do.
- How do we know where to put a well? This is a good question, just like your friend was wondering. We ask a scientist to help us guess where a good spot is and she tells us. So far, she has been right every time!
- How do you know that there's water under there? Even in very dry places, if we dig down far enough we can often find water. BUT, it is not always true. So that is why we need scientists to help us guess.
- Can we email Gie Gie and ask if we can help her? You are very kind to ask this and I have already told her for you that you want to help.
- How do we know where Gie Gie's house is for us to dig a well? She's digging wells to help, but she needs water too! Gie Gie now lives in the United States most of the time and goes home to visit and build wells. I think that she will try to send you pictures of your well this summer so that when you get back to school in September, your wonderful teachers can show you.
- How can we help? You already are helping so much! It helps for you to tell all your friends and families about Gie Gie and the Georgie Badiel Foundation. Most people do not know about the water problem is Africa and if you tell them, maybe they will help too! THAT would really help. And we need money to build the wells.
- Do you need trees too? We DO need trees! We also use the money people send us to plant moringa trees and mango trees. The trees are good for the people and are also good for the earth!
- Can we send a tree? Great question, but you cannot actually send a tree because the kind of trees that grow in Burkina Faso are not for sale here. BUT, we buy them in Africa and plant them.
- Do trees help? Trees help a LOT! They give fruit and nutrition to the people, they also help stop the earth(dirt) from blowing away and they also give nice shade for the people to sit in when it is really hot.
After reading these responses, we talked as a class about what this letter told us about our Water Project. We wondered:
So, we have thought a lot about sending some water there. Can we mail the water?
Audrey: No, we can’t. It’s too heavy and if we got a big box and send it to Africa then it would get out. And it’s too expensive.
Shreya: They need wells!
Rosemary: And they need money. But if you want to get money, you need to work. Work is where the parents go when not at the house.
Charlie: Water can be really heavy. At my pool in LA something that was fabric got in the pool and it was so heavy! Like when you have 10 buckets of water, that’s super heavy.
Eleanor: What if they people who work there- they get water and they give everyone who lives there some and go on a little walk or they can drive a car and at home boil it so that it can be clean. They can use something with small holes to get the things out.
Christopher: we can try to give them some money. Like going to the bank. They could try to see if they have enough money to buy water.
Rosemary: If you boil water and put chemicals in it, it will be clean.
Jace: You can’t mail it because you would have to have a job. Then we could get money and we could send it to Africa.
Rosemary: We can send materials to make a well, and let Kathy know!
Then we wondered:
Kathy says she needs help to tell Gie Gie’s story, the story of water in Burkina Faso.
How can we help?
Nyla: Maybe some of the scientists at the science museum could help! I can tell them maybe this weekend.
Audrey: The scientists at Cape Town could help- like Russell.
Kerem: At Africa there’s just some water.
Thomas: Trees would work to help because there’s water inside trees
Eleanor: I remember that, a long time ago, we got some money. Dana and Betty didn’t know who we should give it to, or what we could do with it. And maybe we could give it to Gie Gie and Kathy to dig some wells!
This letter from the Georigie Badiel Foundation is packed with information. We will keep working and processing this research over the week, as it informs how we take action in the final stages of our project.