A few weeks ago we were visited by personnel from the Secretary of Education requesting our help to organise a science fair in five rural schools. We were thrilled with the idea of having contact with more schools and access to their students, which many times is not that easy.
The first trip to know these schools was tiresome as we visited them all in a single day. The feeling that I had during and after this visit was very complex. I was happy to see the happiness of all those kids and the hard work of directors and teachers alike, but really sad and even angry to see the conditions of some of those places. There are schools with only two teachers in towns with only a few houses, another one was a single secondary school in the area, where I was told, kids are picked up by the bus-school starting at 5 am so they can start classes at 8, a three hour trip!.
I can´t deny that the more I try to work in outreach activities the more I feel frustrated with the work I do. I wish I could spare more of my time and my students´ time to work with all those kids, however with all the projects ongoing I also need to focus on making sure I can deliver all the work and results that we promised and that my students graduate on time. I wonder how other scientists manage to do their work and still have time to these type of activities. I promised myself that I would try to focus on only a few things now that I have even less time with the arrival of my second son, but is really hard to say no when all you want to say is yes.
Anyway, we have a few weeks to prepare the experiments, so let´s get on with it.