by Jorge Rivero González
Two days before the kick-off of the BraBo Expedition, GalileoMobile shared a lovely afternoon with ASTROPANDO, an amateur astronomy group from Cobija. In the past years ASTROPANDO has been doing some wonderful work in the wider area of Cobija, encouraging children and young people to learn more about the wonders of the Universe.
We met with about 25 children and shared a delightful afternoon, in which we introduced our project and engaged in a fruitful conversation about several astronomical topics. They showered us with questions, ranging from the origin of black holes to the formation of the Solar System. Some even wanted information on how to become a professional astronomer!
We wrapped up the afternoon with a star-party in the schoolyard. Manuel de la Torre, our longtime Bolivian collaborator who is also accompanying us during the first weeks of this expedition, had brought his own telescope to the school, so we were able to observe α and β Centauri, the planets Mars and Saturn and the “Eyes of the Lama”, an ancient Andean constellation.
The observations were very exciting for us, since we are not all familiar with the wonders of the Southern sky; so this time it was the children who were teaching us how to find the celestial objects and constellations. Just like GalileoMobile’s motto says, on that evening we learned together, under the same sky.
By Jorge Rivero González
Cobija is the capital of the Pando Department, where GalileoMobile is going to perform its activities in Bolivia for the next two weeks.
From above, as we approached Cobija with the airplane, the city gave us the first example of the palette of colours that we are going to find during the whole BraBo Expedition. The scenery is flooded with different hues of green, so you don’t forget that you are entering the Amazonas region. The rivers around the city look like never-ending dark snakes, accepting an awful destiny: the inevitable death as they flow into the magnificent Amazonas River. The thing that impressed me the most, however, was the strong red of the soil that covers most of the land and the roads. Never have I seen soil so red before. At that moment I realised that these colours are going to be our companions during our stay in the Amazonas region.
From the ground, I felt that Cobija moves at two different speeds: the slow rythms of Bolivian burocracy, common to all tropical environments, not so different from how we roll in the Canary Islands, the place I grew up; and the second, dazzling speed at which the inhabitants of Cobija rush from one place to another in the motorcycle-infested roads. I have never seen so many motorbikes in my lifetime.
These days GalileoMobile is also moving at two different speeds. On one hand, we are trying to get everything ready for the upcoming expedition, taking care of the tiniest detail in the best possible way. However, our hearts are beating really fast with excitement for the adventure to come.
Building on the success of previous experiences, GalileoMobile decided to organise an expedition to the Amazon region in 2014, bringing GalileoMobile to Bolivia and Brazil, from 21st July to 25th August, for a total duration of five weeks. In order to donate educational material to the schools we are going to visit, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $3,500 at indiegogo.com that will be live for 3 weeks, until July 8th. You can access the campaign from this link.
The BraBo Expedition
The planned itinerary is shown below and covers a total distance of roughly 1,600Km through the Bolivian Department of Pando and the neighbouring Brazilian states of Acre and Rondonia.
BraBo Expedition itinerary. Credits: GalileoMobile
We plan to visit about 14 schools, reaching over 1,500 students and 100 local teachers, plus instruct over 600 teachers during three Teacher Training Workshops. One of the novelties of the BraBo expedition with respect to previous ones will be the visit to one school for visually impaired children in each country, where we will perform astronomical activities using an astronomical tactile kits developed by the A Touch of the Universe project, one of GalileoMobile’s partners.
During the BraBo expedition, GalileoMobile will produce a documentary to share our experience with the wider public.
Where will your contribution go?
Every donation will help GalileoMobile donate a telescope and educational material to every school – so we can share the stars with students and offer workshops to the teachers.
The $3,500 we raise will be used to buy telescopes and tripods as well as other material necessary to perform our activities and to be donated to the schools:
- A telescope and tripod per school
- Workshop materials
- Outreach activities books
- Basic material
With your contribution, you will make possible GalileoMobile’s next adventure and to thank you we want you to become an active part of the BraBo expedition!
- Pledge $10 (~ €7) and your name will be listed on the acknowledgements section of the GalileoMobile’s website.
- Have you ever dreamed about appearing on the final credits of a movie? Pledge $20 (~ €15) and your contribution will also grant you a credit as “Executive Producer” on the documentary we’re planning to produce on the BraBo expedition.
- Pledge $30 (~ €22) and you will also receive a digital copy of the GalileoMobile Handbook of activities.
- The $40 (~ €30) pledgers, besides all of the above, will receive the electronic version of our photo-book “Khagol Rath: GalileoMobile in India”. This photo-book tells the story of GalileoMobile’s expedition in India. Between the 2nd and the 13th of July 2012, GalileoMobile embarked on a journey to visit schools around Bangalore and Mysore, India. The photo-book – full of photos, stories, and anecdotes from the travellers – will take you on a journey through a typical Khagol Rath day.
- Pledge $75 (~ €55) and we will also send you a DVD of GalileoMobile’s first documentary movie “Bajo un mismo cielo” (Under the same sky). The documentary showcases GalileoMobile’s expedition to Chile, Bolivia and Peru during the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). On a road trip that lasted two months and travelled over 7,000 kilometers, GalileoMobile visited schools and communities to perform science activities and organise astronomical observations. Through children’s eyes, an encounter from different visions and interpretations of the sky is made, from East to West and from ancient times to modern astronomy, exploring the richness of human culture preserved in the traditions of the Andean culture. The movie is available with subtitles in English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish.
- Finally, the people that pledge $150 (~ €110) will also get the chance to receive a hardcopy of our photo-book “Khagol Rath: GalileoMobile in India”. We are producing a limited first edition of the book so there are only five of this reward available. Don’t miss the chance to get one!
GalileoMobile will be on the road soon and you are invited to join us in this adventure. By helping us reach our goal, you help Astronomy education go further. Every donation counts!