International Science Week
From the 20th to 25th September, we engaged in activities and visited local surroundings as part of the International Science Week (ISW) in conjunction with the French School in Port Vila, Vanuatu, also known as Lycée Français Jean Marie Gustave Le CLEZIO. Amongst several local schools in Port Vila including Lycée Montmarte and Malapoa College, there were three other countries involved; Lycée agricole from New Caledonia, Scots College from New Zealand, and St. Ursula Eichi High School in Japan.
We visited the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Department, the COFELY wind turbine in Kawene, the power station in Tagabe run by UNELCO, the coconut oil mill run by COFELY, and were presented with solar solutions by GreenTech.
Later in the week the participants of the ISW visited the COFELY coconut plantation at Undine Bay on the northern coast of Efate. Our visit of Mangaliliu village gave a rich insight to the culture of Vanuatu.
Throughout the day we discovered the marine biodiversity with a member of the IRD (Research organisation that addresses international development issues), explored the biodiversity on the shore with representatives from the Department of Forests and were taught handicraft skills used in the daily life of the village such as weaving and polishing shells.
The school week ended with the Science Fair, which was held in the conference room of the Le Lagon Resort in Port-Vila. All projects presented centered around providing a sustainable, environmentally friendly approach to the various problems affecting Vanuatu and its citizens.
We submitted a Atmospheric Water Purification System as our project. The system is designed to draw the vapour from the air, condense it from gas to liquid form, filter it using carbon based on coconut shells and deposit to a reservoir. The idea came from our understanding that most people in the rural areas of Vanuatu do not have access to clean, potable water.
We placed third in the High School category for jury vote.
The cultural presentation gave us an insight into the food, traditions and language of the participating countries.
In return we presented a short video that offered a peek into the various aspects of Australian culture including; flora and fauna, tourist attractions, Aboriginal dance, dot painting and food. We also gave out nutella, Tim Tams, Aussie chocolate and Vegemite to try.
We all agree that the entire week was an incredible experience – both culturally and scientifically enriching. It was a truly amazing trip, creating memories that we will cherish for years to come. .We encourage all to visit next year, as it is an amazing opportunity.
Ashley Ramachandran, Krystal Rosario, Mia Malagar
Assisting Teachers: Maryann Doolette & Jules Potiki