Just stop. What are you doing? Do you think you're doing the right thing? That is exactly what I asked myself five weeks ago. And now when I think about this time of my life I laugh. Okay, yes I know this was six weeks ago but hey, a girl can change in six weeks. Okay let me start out from the beginning. I’m Serena Gabriel. And I was thinking of these questions in the middle of math class, obviously not paying attention to math(sorry Mrs. Angelo), and as I was asking myself these questions but I got rudely interrupted by a bell saying that I have to go to my next class. Oh I forgot something! I'm a seventh grader, at a STEAM school, Rick Dekeon STEAM School to be precise, in Nan Arbor, IM(Just kidding, it's Ann Arbor, MI). Any way so I got interrupted by the bell and I had to go to Project hour next(STEAM School= LOTS of projects,but we have ipads to do ALL those projects, so I guess it's okay). When I was thinking about these questions, it was kinda funny actually but I didn't know at the time, because I was about to learn some valuable but depressing information. This was our first project of the year and it was on the Global Water Crisis. So we had been put into groups a while back, and today the whole seventh grade was going to listen to some guy talk about Haiti, and he was going to talk about this like thing he did where he made rain catchers, because we had to actually also design and actually make a water filter. And yeah, I couldn't believe it either, they expect 11 and 12 year-olds to do this(Thanks Mrs. Angelo and Mrs. Scholten). I was put in a group with four other people. Rose, my best friend(YAY!!!), Hayden, interesting guy with an interesting hairstyle, Jake, Hayden’s best friend and is basically Hayden’s brother but with Black hair and glasses, and Austin, a really shy guy that just smiles a lot. So the guy came in, with a laptop and he smiled and said,
“Hi! I'm Mr. Shapiro, so I have a question for you all. How many of you have been to a third world country?” A couple people raised their hands.
“Okay, how many of you have drunk water from a third world country?” No one raised their hands.
“Good, because you do not want to drink this water.” He pressed a button on his computer and the screen changed. It showed a picture of a cup with yellow water in it and there seemed to be something like dirt in it.
“But even though you guys don't have to drink this water, but about 663 million people do, without a choice, right now. So when there was a huge earthquake in Haiti, my mentor had an idea to help them. So me and a whole group went to Haiti to help them with a big problem the had even before this earthquake. Any guesses of what this problem is?” He called on Abby, a friend of mine.
“No.” Mr. Shapiro said. He called on Hayden.
No. One more guess.” He called on Scarlet, another friend of mine.
“Yes. That's it, but good guesses. A clean water source is a problem in a lot of countries not only in Haiti, but other places too such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and India, etc. And it's a real problem! Just imagine not having clean drinking water!” Leah raised her hand, ANOTHER friend of mine(I noticed I have a lot of friends)
“But if they don't have clean drinking water, how do they drink water?” Leah asked.
“Good question, and I was just about to get to that! So they don't have a choice. They have to drink the water, even though it's very risky, especially for younger children because they can get diarrhea and-”
“But can't they buy water filters?” Nick interrupted, he said this even though Mrs. Scholten was glaring him down.
“They don't have enough money, most of them are in poverty, and that actually leads into what we did. We made a sort of rain catcher. So how it works is when it rains, rain falls onto the roof, the rain on the roof falls into a pipe that is attached to a set of filters, and after the water is filtered it goes into the hut clean, and drinkable.” Alex raised his hand, and got called on.
“What about when it doesn't rain though?”
“Well actually when it's raining the rain gets put into other big storage containers, filtered with the same process, and it does rain alot in Haiti, but when it doesn't rain we have water from lakes and rivers be filtered, but that process is a bit longer. See you have to walk to the water because there isn't buses and motorcycles to take you, and walking takes a long time in most cases. In fact women and children are the ones collecting the water and they spend 125 million hours a day collecting water around the world, when they could be having an education.”
“Okay sorry, Mr. Shapiro but we have to switch to our next class so can we give a round of applause?” Mrs. Angelo said, we gave him his applause, and he thanked us and left.
So fast forward to the next Project hour(we only have project hour 3 times a week). So today is a Wednesday(last time was Monday) and my group is discussing some ideas for our water filter. Well we were supposed to be discussing, but no one had any ideas, and Austin was just making paper boats.
“What if…. nah I got nothing.” I said.
“OMG I JUST HAD THE BEST IDEA!” Hayden stood up, yelling this.
“You don't have to yell.” I said, pulling him down to his seat.
“What is it already?!” Rose exclaimed.
“What if we went of of that rain catcher thing? We like make a bucket you can carry like an umbrella in the rain, and like it goes down pipes and in the pipes it gets filtered!!”
“That is a good idea!” Jake smiled fist-bumping Hayden. We drew a quick sketch and showed it to the teachers. And what they said made noone happy.
“Okay that's good, but you need to make evidence why this is the best idea.” Mrs. Scholten said. We tried not to groan.
“What? Did you guys not expect this? This is a 21st century skill! And here we learn 21st century skills!” Mrs. Angelo smiled.
So we did research. A LOT of research. And we did research for the next 4 Project hour classes. And before we started today's class Mrs. Scholten made an announcement,
“Class today you can start designing or building your filter. I'm not sure anyone will start building but at least designing. Okay you can start now.”
“Okay so we can start building today!” Hayden said
“Yas!” Jake smiled.
“No we really can't.” Rose said.
“Why not?” Jake asked
“Maybe because we don't have any materials?” Rose said.
“Oh, right. I knew that.” Jake said nodding his head.
“Okay so what materials do we need?” I asked, pulling out a piece of paper.
“2 Soda bottles, like big ones.” Austin said
“PVC Pipes.” Jake added
“A drill.” Hayden smiled.
“Lots and lots of tape.” Rose said. We all laughed.
“Okay is this it?”
“For right now, yes.” Hayden said.
“Okay, now what?” Austin asked.
“We divide up how we’re going to get stuff. I’ll have the pop bottles.” Hayden said.
“I think our teachers can help with the PVC Pipe, Tape and drill.” I said.
“Okay I’ll bring We show Mrs. Scholten and Mrs. Angelo?” I said.
“Yeah, yeah.” Hayden nodded and we showed it to Mrs. Scholten and Mrs. Angelo and you’ll never guess what they told us to do.
“More research they said.” So that's what we did. And a this point you may be thinking, why am I reading this story? Why am I wasting my life on this when there are so many other stories? And just for you, I'm going to tell you why this story is worth. It's worth because we did more and more research, and we realized something. That this is a real problem. A VERY REAL problem, and this was new to me because I didn't know much about this problem, until this project happened. And I had an idea. But before I could think more about this idea, I got VERY rudely interrupted by Hayden saying,
“You guys know that you would never be anywhere without me right?”
“Sure, let's just go with that.” Rose said not looking up from her ipad but you could see that she was smiling.
“It's true!” And then Hayden did the funniest thing. Currently in History class we were learning about the Pharaohs of Egypt and how they had a class system so he made a class system of our group! He put himself on top, then Rose, then Me, then Austin, and at the bottom Jake, based on the amount of work we did. We all laughed and I crumpled the paper up, and Jake shot it in the trash can. ANYWAY(Thank you for your comments Hayden)this is such a big problem, bigger than what I had thought at the beginning, way bigger. That why, on my free time I made the Keep the Water Going program. Rose, Hasan my brother, and I partnered with our company,(We sell LoomingRainbow bracelets) Awesomepeo bracelets, and all the bracelet money we collected, was donated to Water.org, it's an organization that gives fresh drinking water to people who don't have the resources to get drinkable Water. And my Keep the Water Going program was all about spreading awareness because I alway heard about Presidential debates and terrorists on the news, what about people not getting enough drinking water? Well what I started to do is put flyers near bathrooms and water fountains because if you keep the tap running it wastes about 6 litres per minute. And people walk such long walks for water that is slowly killing themselves, the water that we get from a tap doesn't go everywhere, our water is precious, and everyone deserves that water. And this idea, to make people more aware about how water is not a resource we should take for granted kept being passed on, not only in Michigan, but also all around the U.S. Started with some of my friends in California and Texas and just kept spreading. Anyway, before we knew it our filter, as we call it the Rain Roller now was built and tested and remodeled then tested and remodeled then tested and so forth until our Expo. Expo was interesting, all the grades did something different and all the projects were pretty good. We presented and wowed the audience(Thank you Hayden, Rose, Jake, and Austin!!). Hayden used some big words, Rose kept everyone sane(That was very hard job working with Jake and Hayden), Jake tested the rain roller, and Austin charmed the audience, while I just stood there, amazed by my group. The other groups were okay(THEY WERE AMAZING, not to brag or anything but our school is like the coolest!! Haha Delano Middle school). Anyway fast forward a week after Expo, right now it's Math class and I'm listening to what Mrs. Angelo was saying about expressions, because I realized that we in the U.S. have alot of things that we probably take for granted like public education, drinkable water, etc. and those are things that should be cherished, so every once and awhile, just be thankful, because you might learn a thing or two. Now i'm not that special of a kid, I'm just Serena Gabriel, the girl who goes to Rick Dekeon STEAM School in Ann Arbor, MI. The girl who changed in such a short period of time for the good of things, and the girl who is trying to inspire you to change things for the better because helping people, and making them happy is one of the greatest feelings, trust me, I know. So maybe you're like, well I just wasted ten minutes of my life, or maybe you're like THAT WAS AMAZING(I’d rather you be like this) but, either way I hope you learned something. Thank you for your time.