This is my buddy Jimmu (jim-OOH)
He is 11 years old and very cool. I took a picture with him not only because him and I make a cute pair (sorry Dan but I do think I should start to consider the idea of finding a younger trade in), but because we are standing at the scene of a budding project.
On the land we are standing, we plan to build an experimental project based school for Jimmu. Equatoguinean schools are based on the Spanish education system which works wonders for Spanish children but is it is neither here nor there for Equatoguinean children.
Kids in Spain that are successful in school can hope to find a job. Children in Equatorial Guinea that do well in school don't find ready job because there aren't many. What is worse, they do not have the tools, know how and opportunity to create their own jobs. You do find a little entrepreneurial spirit here and there but rarely do their business ideas take them past subsistence living.
I spent this last year really thinking about this stand still and the past 2 months doing some brain storming with a couple of Michigan educators crazy enough to even consider this idea. We came up with this Project Based School idea.
Starting with farming in this little farm, students in our school will combine academics with trade skills. Learning, reading, plant biology, entomology, earth science, mathematics (marketing), art and other academic requirements in a working farm will be much less stuffy than the good ol' classroom (take it from me).
We will start with a few children, a few crops, some chickens and a couple of goats. The hope is that our little farm school becomes self sufficient and our children learn many of the real world aspects of starting, running, working in and expanding a business.
What is even more mind boggling is that eventually, the surrounding villagers will have access to fresh local produce, eggs and cheese for the first time since the end of the colonial era. Right now, if you want a fresh tomato or even salad greens, you must buy from some foreign bloke who imported it from Lebanon! Imagine the expense, not to mention the nutritional value of that artificially ripened world traveled tomato.
Why wait till you are 23 to find work experience in a unpaid internship when you can start experiencing how it is all done at age 7?
Yeah, well it all sounds good on paper...
So far we have 6 acres, a budding experimental farm, a very interested Spanish philanthropist who I must court in the coming year, and a very enthusiastic project manager. Its a start....uhm...right?