Rising early with the sun, changing into our (least dirty) clothes for school, we head to the middle school Paulo Freire in Guadalajara, Jalisco to teach a course on the cultivation and benefits of mushrooms. We start the day feeling enlivened to share our ideas and philosophies to inspire the next generation of children. These young adults are the seeds (or spores), that with the right information and tools, have the power to shift the future of this planet.
Dropping the Spores
We arrive at the school and set up shop while sixty-seventh graders filed in the terrace. Silvan opens up with an enthusiastic account of the basics of the world of fungi. With the students captivated, he moves into the medicinal, remedial, culinary, spiritual, soil building, and water purification properties of fungus. Silvan closes the introduction with an amazing interactive activity. He brought the kids back 350 million years ago, where the world was inhabited by “trees” reaching only as tall as one meter and mushrooms spanning an average of 8 meters tall. We joined hands to demonstrate the gargantuan size of the prehistoric mushroom, leaving the kids in awe as we moved into our next group activity.
As we were about to split up and begin the workshops I was a bit nervous, remembering what seventh-graders were like when I was in middle school. Perhaps it is a cultural difference, but we were received with respect and fascination. Our first time teaching children, we took special care to engage them, asking questions and sharing interactively. This resonated incredibly well with the students and excitement was vibing in the air.
Sharing the lifestyle
Following the workshop, we each led our groups onto the FungiBus, answering an array of amazing questions about lifestyle, choices, and paths. It really made me feel like we were making an impact. We entered into the philosophical side of the fungi lifestyle. The eyes of the kids were glowing with interest and inspiration. Soon after, teachers and faculty members of the school heard the word of our project which sparked an interest enough for them to come to check out the bus and ask some questions. They had the look in their eyes. You know- THAT look. The look where it seems everything in their lives has been shifted or turned upside down. A spark has ignited a flame in the souls of all these people we were able to connect with.