This past two months have been great for Africa HOU. One of the leading medical equipment distributors in the country, Pulse Health care donated a telescope and a green laser pointer. The equipment was purchased in a store in South Africa and shipped to Kenya. The Africa HOU office has now turned into a star gazing site at night despite the tall building and trees around.
Some of the sponsors have had a chance to look through the telescope and get excited about astronomy. During some of the evening, we have had a chance to bring young children near the office to get a chance and look at the moon through the 4.5 inch reflector telescope. We have also had amazing star gazing moments with young professional.
On December 1st, I had a chance of sharing my passion for astronomy with some young children. We discussed some astronomy key points and gave them a chance to look through the telescope. The children were impressed at the site of the moon and the two "stars" actually planets, Venus and Jupiter. We discussed some issues like how these planets may appear close by but are actually more than 800 million kilometers apart.
The young children between the ages of ten to two years, were excited and begun asking lots of questions. "Why is the moon round and not crescent as we can see?" "What are the things we see on the moon?", "Where does the moon go some nights", "Does the moon have light?". After giving them satisfactory answers I posed some questions to them. One of the questions I posed was which of the three celestial bodies is the biggest. Some of the really young children thought the moon is actually the biggest and others thought its Jupiter. We came to an agreement after a short demonstration of how the distant objects actually do appear smaller.
The sponsors and other professionals were not left behind. One of the gentlemen, an IT specialist who is a physics graduate started science refresher courses after marveling at the site of the moon. The topic of black holes, dark energy and supernova soon begun. Another professional, an engineer could not get his hands off the telescope, he kept playing with the machine as that is what he enjoys, fixing and experimenting. One of our sponsors thought of buying his two-year old son a telescope. Well I think I will encourage him to do so.
Most evenings I have a task at our office. Even the German neighbor who lives close by has now come and asked lots of science questions. Unfortunately she has never had a chance to look through the telescope but am certain that very soon she will.
Astronomy is an interesting science, It sparks scientific curiosity and intrigue. I am starting to see the intrigue in many of these children eyes as we meet. They even call me "msichana wa nyota", the girl of the stars. Some still pose science questions. Recently as I was walking to the office a young girl, maybe four years asked me why the sky is blue. As for my peers, I feel they are now getting some inspiration into science.
We know that with the help of this telescope we will be able to reach many more children out there. If we can get a few more scientists, to ask why?, to find out and make deductions, then maybe we would have served our purpose. Who knows, maybe some of these chilldren will be great discoverers.
To Pulse Health Care, we are extremely grateful for your donation. This will certainly help many young children enjoy science. As we come closer to International Year of Astronomy, we hope to make a greater impact on our future leaders. Asante sana pulse Health Care.