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A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Left to right: Sakhiwe Shongwe, TH Culhane, Bonkhe Mahlalela, Rohit Fenn, Bayinda, Amit Fenn in Swaziland. Credit: YouTube

You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability in Swaziland, and I got to have that privilege. Now I want to share it with you.

My fellow Google Science Fair and Scientific American Science in Action judge, TH Culhane of Solar CITIES, traveled to Swaziland with a bio-digester, 200 laminated and illustrated instruction cards for a simplified hydroponics system to improve crop yields, and some big plans to collaborate on sustainability projects in Swaziland.

Culhane met three 2012 Google Science Fair finalists–two of them, Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela, the duo who won our first Scientific American Science in Action prize. They were joined by a third finalist, Rohit Fenn of India, who was accompanied by his brother Amit. Along the way, they have met new friends and shared some wonderful adventures. Together, they are exploring how collaboration, with the bio-digestor from TH, the low-flow toilet by Rohit, and the simplified hydroponics by Sakhiwe and Bonkhe, can enhance and expand on their original individual efforts.

At the end of the Hangout, Sakhiwe (with great back up) performs a rap song about their work. Here are the words:

A dream is a dream,
and life is a stream,
but what’s true is…
imagination can truly set us free.
Our obstacles don’t make anything truly impossible,
the things that stand in our way are way less then plausible,
I guess…
I have always been a dreamer,
my goals have only been limited by what i can think of,
and now I’ve learned to dream much bigger,
bigger,
but sometimes you get the hiccups,
even though it’s tough I was never taught to give up,
I’m with Dr Culhane,
proceeding with the science fam,
and if the world gives you crap, then thank the Lord you’ll get some…
biogas,
mixing food waste together with Rohit’s toilets,
providing fertility to grow our hydroponics,
as we try to make our inventions more cheap and effcieent,
’cause right now our world, yo, is a little deficient,
in people who want nothing more than to help one another,
and not just go through life hoping to make more money than the other, brother.
That’s our dream, a world that’s healthy and clean,
I have a dream, you have a dream, WE…
have a dream.

The group soon will write us a follow-up post to let us all the details. But for now, I wanted to share the Hangout, so you can hear them yourself. I hope you feel as inspired by their efforts and their creative joy as I did.

 

 

Mariette DiChristina About the Author: Editor in Chief, Mariette DiChristina, oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific American MIND and all newsstand special editions. Follow on Twitter @mdichristina.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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