The weekend after our first week of classes we had an official kick off field trip. We traveled to Istanbul to visit several factories that were striving to become more sustainable- it was really exhausting. But once again we ran into some problems. Due to a lack of itinerary or idea of what the field trip entailed many of the Turkish felt as if their time wasn’t being entirely used productively. The factory visits were bland and to a certain extent useless. I merely along for the ride and out of place in a new country didn’t know if this was common but the Turkish students weren’t having it. That night, during a meeting many of the students raised concerns and comments about the field trip being useless. They were openly criticizing the program. This is unheard of back at home- or at least I’ve never witnessed an in-classroom protest. Everything was resolved by the end of the night and we were told that the next day we would be helping kids at a leadership camp build and race solar powered racecars.
The class would be split into ten groups and we would assist the kids with building these racecars. You could see in their eyes how exited they were. But wait here comes another road bump, the day of the building and racing is the same day that clouds decide to show up in Turkey. We would have to modify the cars last minute to somehow to make them lighter so that they would be able to run. About 2 minutes before the race, I had to remove the body of the car and leave only the panel, the motor, and the chassis. Although, we didn’t win the kids were really grateful that we made their car run.
Later that night there was a big concert for the kids. Turkish musicians were brought. It was a huge night of dancing to traditional Turkish songs. It was a great experience.