Creativity, Action and Service

Last Tuesday, I spoke with students in Mr. Joy's 1st, 3rd and 4th period classes at Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Mr. Joy teaches history and comparative religion.  His classroom was wonderfully decorated with artifacts from traditions around the world.  Our Amman Imman table complemented the multi-cultural decor.
Amman Imman presentation table

 Most of the students I talked to are juniors enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.  As Mr. Joy explained during his introduction to my presentation, many of them need to do a project that combines creativity, action and service (CAS) as part of their IB diploma.  Our Wells of Love program fits in well with these requirements.  Opportunities as advocates for the people of the Azawak directly engage students in creating action-oriented projects that make a difference. Whether by designing an event to  raise awareness about the dire situation in the Azawak or initiating a fundraising event in their community to contribute towards Amman Imman's work in the region, students helping through Wells of Love learn about global issues while taking an active stand through creative service.  As Mr. Joy pointed out, much of the legwork has already been done for the students with a plethora of ideas and resources available on the Wells of Love resource website.

40 minute presentations in three class periods with time for questions

Students in each class asked good questions.  A few focused on whether water might be a source of conflict among the populations in the Azawak.  This is not currently the case.  I explained that in this region, already prone to political and economic instability, Amman Imman builds permanent and sustainable sources of water to alleviate the lack of basic resources so that people are less vulnerable to conflict.  Once water is available, animals produce milk, people grow food, economic, health and educational opportunities can begin.

A students signs our mailing list to learn more 
Another thoughtful student asked why couldn't people in the Azawak be relocated to coastal regions rather than suffer from the lack of water where they currently live?  Another good question.  Niger is a land-locked country far from the coast.  From the north the encroaching desert continues to spread. The pastoralist populations of the Azawak have roamed these vast plains for centuries.  It's their home.  We are talking about half a million people!  Agriculturalists in other parts of Niger  would not welcome these nomadic families and their herds of animals. They would become refugees (like the thousands and thousands of people leaving Libya) if they left Niger, or displaced persons if they were forced to leave the Azawak valley.

This Thursday I'll continue my presentations when I meet with students at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown, Maryland.


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