Refuge

Discovery stage “environment of the mountain chain” (Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 of November 2009, Tendo tribe)

Last April, the HENRI BLAFFART ASSOCIATION handed a € 1.5000 check over to the DAYU BIIK ASSOCIATION in order to allow them to organise a discovery “stage” for about 20 children of New Caledonia.

Romain Franquet of Dayu Biik tells us more about this event…

Participants and coaching

Because of the very bad weather conditions on Monday, November 16th, the OUARI catholic school preferred to cancel their participation to the event. Only the TENDO and BAS COULNA schools participated in the stage. 18 children aged 7 to 9 and their teachers and nurses were present.

Initially 75 children had registered for the event. Based on this forecast, DAYU BIIK had recruited 8 young leaders from the local community amongst a pool of young people who had earlier been trained to become “nature stewards”. This training had been jointly organized in October by the “Centre for the Initiation to the Environment”, DAYU BIIK and ACAF North. Despite the last-minute cancellation by two of the two biggest schools which had registered, the organizers managed to involve all of the 8 trainees.

The event

Monday, November 16

Upon our arrival, a “custom” of the BAS COULNA school and the group facilitators was presented to the participants, their parents and to the TENDO “coutumiers” to thank them for their hospitality and generous investment for the organization of this visit. The “coutumiers” responded by returning the “custom”.

After this introductory presentation, the holiday program was presented to the participants. Two groups of 9 children were formed out of the two classes who were present. The idea behind this “mixing” of people was to foster the exchanges between the children of the two tribes. The children then set out to install their beds in the various boxes made available by their guests.

The activities were held in the afternoon: Two workshops in classes (lasting 1h30 each) on waste and fire were proposed to the children. They discovered, through various games (snakes and ladders, games, puzzles, stories ...) the effects of fire on forest, soil and biodiversity and its impacts on rivers (erosion, flooding, draining). They also could see the responsibility of human beings towards its environment, particularly through the concept of waste management which is a recurring problem affecting most isolated tribes. They also discovered the environmental risks associated with poor waste management.

In the meantime, rain had stopped pouring. During the second part of the afternoon (from 3 pm to 5.30 pm) the children discovered the riches of the forest through a treasure hunt game. Children in small groups of 3 to 4 accompanied by a trainee and a parent were submitted a couple of tests on different issues such as soil, insects, plants ...

After the meal prepared and served by the parents of the TENDO school, the children watched two short films aiming at raising their awareness about the environmental impact of bushfires.

Tuesday, November 17

The rain intensified so it was impossible to return outside and practice outdoor activities. Two new workshops were proposed on the themes of the river and invasive species through various games and presentations. Each thematic workshop lasted two hours. The groups rotated among the various workshops.

After lunch, the traditional going away “coutume” was presented to our hosts to thank them for their welcome and their hospitality during these 2 days. The Henri Blaffart Associations and the various facilitators were also thanked for their time and commitment.

Conclusion

Despite the bad weather conditions, children were able to discover the many facets that make up the landscape of the mountain chain and the various threats to that beautiful environment. Thanks to the fun factor included in the various courses, they became aware of the fragility of their natural environment and of the often harmful impact of human activities. They went back home aware of the need to preserve their environment for the well being of all.

Below are a set of pictures taken during the event as well as a few testimonies by some of the participants.

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