Although the cli­mate in the state of Puebla is sig­nif­i­cant­ly cloudi­er and rainier than where I live, I packed up my solar oven and took it with me to a sci­ence fair this week­end in a small com­mu­ni­ty there. The fair was orga­nized by anoth­er Vol­un­teer for the chil­dren and par­ents at the school where she has been teach­ing and help­ing sev­er­al times a week. My sta­tion with the solar oven was more for the par­ents to see the tech­nol­o­gy than for the kids. How­ev­er, I don’t think my bare­ly cook­ing cake was very impres­sive to any­one. Still, I gave my spiel and had some inter­est­ed peo­ple hang around and get all the info. The day was very cloudy after rain in the morn­ing. A few times dur­ing the day the sun tried to break through the clouds and my oven warmed up enough to con­vince peo­ple of its poten­tial pow­er. How­ev­er, by the end of the day, all I had was thor­ough­ly half-cooked cake.

I think all the oth­er sta­tions did very well, not even just in com­par­i­son. Next to me was the per­pet­u­al­ly mobbed flower-pot mak­ing sta­tion. The moth­ers first and then the kids could­n’t get enough of dec­o­rat­ing recy­cled con­tain­ers into flower pots. The cen­ter where some Vol­un­teers work, includ­ing the orga­niz­er, brought their “small” sci­ence trail­er with all sorts of demos, and a portable plan­e­tar­i­um. There were also sta­tions to make bird masks, vol­ca­noes, geo­met­ric paper forms, Picas­so-inspired paper plate dec­o­ra­tions, learn about cul­tures from around the world, get your face-paint­ed, and learn about healthy diet choic­es. It was an exhaust­ing day, but the kids had a blast. The school will nev­er be the same for all the glit­ter, and I don’t envy the remain­ing clean-up job in the library, but I’m glad I could go and help out.