This week was spent doing community outreach by painting and teaching at two local schools. We were excited to meet the children and pass on our marine biology knowledge, and who knows, perhaps we have inspired some to become marine biologists themselves! Monday to Wednesday were spent at one school and the last two days of the week were spent at the other. At the start of the first lesson we recapped what the March volunteers covered by testing the children’s knowledge on the names of the continents and oceans. Then, over the course of the subsequent lessons, we proceeded with new knowledge on whales and dolphins, with focus on explaining the differences between mammals and fish, which species live around Mozambique, and proceeded to go into detail about their behaviours, migrations, diet, communication, and social structure.
Painting, however, was constrained due to poor weather. Sporadic rain and variable winds graced us with their presence Monday through till Thursday. Therefore, on Monday and Tuesday we painted the inside walls of the principal’s office grey- not very exciting but the principal seemed pleased, so it was worth it. Wednesday lulled us into a false sense of security; there was a short rain shower early in the morning but then the sky brightened up, so we decided to paint a marine themed mural on the outside of the principal’s office. We chose to paint a turtle and a tiger shark on a blue ocean background as these are common megafauna seen around Mozambique. Whist we were painting the ocean the heavens opened and heavy rain made the paint run, so now the tiger shark has blue stripes!
At the second school we decided to paint an ocean trash mural explaining how long different types of trash that typically end up in the ocean take to degrade. Thursday was wet and gloomy, so we were strategic about our painting by placing the mural on the principal’s outside walls, which were mostly under a porch, thus protected from the rain. Friday’s weather was sunny and hot allowing us to leave our raincoats inside and finish the mural on an exposed wall.
Additionally, a fishing competition was held this week so after school we attended to film the weigh-in. Tuesday and Wednesday were deemed blow-outs so no competitor went out onto the ocean- I’m sure the fish were glad for the break! Evenings were spend logging the data: fish species, weight, total length, forked length, and pre-caudal length for the LTO fisheries data set.
No sign of humpback whales yet but we hope the cold weather front experienced this week will be the temperature drop they need to draw them to Mozambique.
That’s all until next week folks. Wishing everyone a Whale of a Time this weekend.
Saskia, Ellie and Nikki