The most recent news and notes about project progress!
See the Water Systems Blog!
After four weeks of music classes, the students of Nazare had their first concert today! The PME team will be blogging soon in greater detail. For now, here's some footage of today's performance!
We've begun the Pantanal Music Exchange teaching program in the past few weeks here, working with kids at the Nazaré Orphanage to learn to play the violin, viola, and cello.
Working with a wide range of ages (and attention spans) has been a challenge, but a core group of older students has already emerged as dedicated musicians. Due to age gaps we decided to hold separate classes for the older students. They have started to take strong leadership roles in the classes we hold with the younger students as well.
In our first week and a half together we worked to establish strong fundamentals in bow and instrument positions. Of course, just holding the instruments didn’t really satisfy the kids, who wanted to immediately play the instruments they were learning to hold. After some rhythm games, learning the string names, pizzicato exercises, beginning bow technique, and a lot of patience we dove into learning a short canção: The Flower Song. Evanildo, Pedro, and Luis played a lovely two part harmony to the Flower Song at the end of class on Monday.
After finishing up our water, waste and wind technology projects at schools and our base in the Pantanal, we've begun the second phase of the summer here, in which we will be teaching CPR, English, and music at local schools and our partner orphanage Nazaré.
During the last week of June we visited the schools at Chumbo and Cangas to teach First-aid and CPR. Although the classes were to follow a very structured format, at times it was difficult to complete a lesson as planned and still address all of the students’ (and teachers’) misconceptions about basic health issues. The general lack of (correct) knowledge about common illnesses and bodily mechanisms was both frustrating and illuminating. We spent a fair bit of time convincing some that hitting a person on the back was not an acceptable substitute for the Heimlich maneuver. In the end, though, being able to sort through and eliminate at least some of their misinformation was rewarding, especially with regard to life-saving skills like CPR.
On the first day, students learned how to safely and effectively analyze an emergency situation and identify life-threatening injuries. Students left the lesson with the ability to identify the presence of several vital signs such as pulse and breathing. They also learned how to evaluate a victim’s mental status. The second day focused on basic wound care management. The students now know how to stop many types of bleeding and splint various parts of the body. We actually heard a story of a student who, the day after taking our class, ran home to splint her brother’s broken arm! Our final day was spent teaching CPR. We showed them an instructional video (in Portuguese), approved for use by the American Heart Association. At times during the video we would interject in order to elaborate on or simplify certain concepts. The students were able to practice chest compression technique on our makeshift mannequins.
Phase one of summer 2013 is now complete. PCER hosted three technology projects: a team teaching bio-sand water filters, water filtration, and water-borne illnesses; a team dedicated to designing a functional bio-digester; and a team that installed two wind turbines at PCER. Additionally, we hosted a project to measure environmental mercury to evaluate the impact of local gold mining operations.
The water filters team spent almost all their time at local schools, where they taught first to older kids and then to younger kids with the help of older kid volunteers. Our team and helpers installed two functional filters at schools. Students will present the filters as part of the semester theme project of healthy living. The teams of local students will, over their winter vacation (beginning in mid-July), take these technologies to more rural communities.
The bio-digester team and wind turbine team spent more of their time developing and constructing technologies at PCER in the heart of the Pantanal. The technologies are still being tweaked and tested.
Left: Students teach about water filtration at Chumbo. Middle: a reduced-scale model wind turbine is demonstrated at Chumbo. Right: Loading the bio-digester at PCER.
More pictures from this May and June are posted on the University of Michigan's flicker account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michigan-engineering/sets/72157633568925511/.
Students are leading a series of basic engineering and water sanitation workshops at the schools in the towns of Congas and Chumbo, on the edge of Pantanal. The classes focus on the importance of clean drinking water and together they build sand-based water filters. Adult evening classes are currently underway to spread the word across the community. The goal is that the kids and parents will jointly understand the water issues to help alleviate a number of serious diseases that plague the area.
Check out all the photos*, including adult night classes, here!
*Photos by Marcin Szczepanski/University of Michigan, College of Engineering, Multimedia Producer
Our Pantanal orchestra program, Pantanal Music Exchange, was featured on Michigan Radio's Stateside with Cynthia Canty on May 1st. To listen to the interview with Ethan and Alex, visit http://michiganradio.org/post/u-m-students-link-michigan-brazil-through-music. To learn more about the project and how to get involved, check out the Pantanal Music Exchange tab on the left.