For the past three weeks we've been holding afternoon school aboard Crystal Blues, working with primary and secondary students to improve their English comprehension. Ley has devised a grab-bag of games and projects to use, and some of the older kids have been working on our computers, completing homework and school projects. From 3.00pm most afternoons you can't move in the cockpit or the cabin for kids and projects.
Yesterday we cancelled the normal classes and arranged to visit the longhouse with games for the kids. In preparation we'd photocopied (in bulk) several patterns for folded paper aircraft, and we organised a competion - the longest flight, the best decoration (they had to colour them in before folding), with prizes for boys and girls. 10 children took part, with lots of laughter and delight when the flight competition began. The longhouse verandah is enclosed, about 150 metres long, plenty of room for paper planes !
The real surprise was what happened next - the mothers, who had been watching their kids in action, wanted to participate ! We issued more patterns, and 8 mothers folded deadly accurate little aircraft - no time for decoration, this was serious......and very competitive.
Then another surprise. We had noticed a group of young men at one end of the house looking disdainfully at all this "kids stuff", but when the mother's aircraft flew very far and very true, the young men sent an emissary. Can the men make planes too please ? Sure, so more patterns came out. Despite the young men's best efforts, the womens paper plane building skills won out - they still proudly hold the distance record. To our surprise, a childrens game ended up involving almost the entire longhouse population - everybody went home happy and sore from laughing ...