Meet Forhad Shah

My name is Forhad. I’m a Junior at Long Island city high school and I’ve been involved with global kids for about a year and a half now. In that time, I’ve worked on the Green Roof project and we’ve successfully managed to get a green roof on Bryant high school. That was quite an experience, having to facilitate workshops with both adults and youth. Pitching our ideas to Principals and teachers and other such officials. Besides that, working to promote knowledge about climate change has been quite a rewarding experience as well.

 

SustainAware Slovenia Pre-Departure

Getting all the papers for the trip has been quite a struggle, especially with the medical form. Suddenly I find out I have to take an X-ray to make sure I don’t have some contagious airborne disease. It was a mess, but it’s okay now. I don't really know what to expect beside the fact that I’ll definitely be making some new friends and that we will be doing a lot of work. I quite enjoy surprises so let see what this trip has in store. But overall, I think this will be an enriching experience, broadening my mind and knowledge as to how things are done in other countries as well as how organizing happens around the world. A goal I have in mind is being able to apply all I’ve learned and experienced to my work when I come back home, and hopefully throughout the rest of my academic and social life.

 

Day 1

So yesterday, we got here and we went to this place, high up on a hill. A hotel apparently. There Samri and I took a really long walk and saw the town of Izola from up high. It was really nice. Meanwhile, Jatnna had to sit through a boring meeting. We got back in 30 mins and ate lunch, walked back to the hotel and relaxed, had dinner, socialized and slept.

 

Day 2
Our first day of doing work. We woke up, got downstairs lazily. Nice warm, comforting hot chocolate for breakfast. Then the morning work started.  Lots of cappuccino to keep me awake. Samri, Jatnna and I sat together, working. On our way back from lunch in a local restaurant, we saw a milk vending machine. That's right. It vends milk. You buy a bottle, then you take the bottle, put it in the dispenser and it pours in milk like a coffee machine. I guess that's how they get milk :0  We also saw this nice view of the sea. We did our afternoon sessions and then ended with this view of the surrounding areas.

 

Day 3

Being here, it’s such an amazing experience. I've met people much older than me, and formed instant friendships with them. As if I've known them for months. It has honestly been something I will never forget. Also, as teens, we are not normally involved in the behind-the-scenes work of planning a project like Sustainaware. Here, I've really been a part of that process. Today we laid out the plans for who's doing what after we split up into groups. I was in the web design one, but we were also doing social media, so I went ahead and created a twitter and email for SustainAware. As this is a global collaboration, I expected someone else to be responsible for this, but to my surprise, I was given responsibility for it. Nobody even gave it a second thought. People who are at the very least, 25 years old, treated me as an equal. Now I have the job of managing a twitter account, a Facebook page, and helping establish a website.

 

Day 5

Leaving Izola was an experience, a well documented one. We left by bus to Koper only to find the train out of service and ended up taking a bus to Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia), meeting Vedrana and Ivana on the bus (the Croatian partners). In Ljubljana, we ran around being crazy (they spent 30 mins looking at jewelry on the side of the square) and then attending the Slovenian LDA. Afterwards, on the train to Croatia, we were stopped by immigration. They had no idea wether the Schengen visa allowed us into Croatia. The struggle!!

 

Day 6
Began our day with a visit to a technical school where they're building a wind turbine from scratch, except for the generator part. They had solar panels on the Roof that the students dismantle and put together again as part of their class!!! Then we went to this vegan club, amazing vegan food (still love meat though), and afterwards we explored Zagreb. The evening was a presentation at a middle school where they're building a community garden with our Croatian partners. Everything was in Croatian and I didn't understand much. It was a struggle.