Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geography Fair Success

The 24th Annual Geography Fair was a terrific success, with hundreds of students and family members learning about the geography of water. BSU students in Dr. Clark's Water Resources were among the volunteers who judged a hundred student projects.

While the judging took place, humanitarian Michael Cambra told the story of Mission to Liberia, an organization that he and Joseph Naranamie have created over the past several years to support recovery and development projects in Liberia, West Africa. This was the first time that the Geography Fair had such a focus on service learning, with t-shirt sales and donations being directed toward the creation of a fresh-water well in Liberia.

Near the end of the program, students and their families enjoyed the music of Khakatay, BSU's amazing West African Drumming ensemble. West Africa, of course, comprises many cultures and musical traditions, but the region as a whole is well-represented by the music of Khakatay (which means "laughing out loud"). This excellent connection was made even stronger by the appearance of educator Brigitte Ndikum-Nyada of Cameroon, whose grace and strength was a vivid reminder of something Michael Cambra had discussed earlier: in Cameroon, as in Liberia and much of the rest of the world, girls and women spend hours each day carrying water great distances, often on their heads.

Photo: Danielle Robidoux
All of the volunteers and students -- and particularly Dr. Domingo and the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance -- are to be commended for a program that was not only enjoyable and informative, but also of direct benefit to the people of Liberia.

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