My World School – four months in, at school in the Galapagos!

My Mum’s cousin Val is the head teacher at a school back home. She’s read some of our blogs and showed some of our photos to all the children in assembly.

They sent us some questions and these were mine :

Zoe – What do you do when you get bored? What games do you play? We are all jealous that you don’t have to go to school. How is World School school going? Have you been on any more adventures like your jungle journey to the beach?

We decided to use the questions to do our next blogs!

When I get bored, I have a Kindle so sometimes I read. I really like to draw or make stuff and now I have just got some new paints. We have pencils and paper. In Quito we got some scissors, sellotape and glue and more drawing paper!

Reading on a long bus trip – once I thought I lost mine on a bus which was awful but we found it  safely put away in Dad’s bag!

I have beads and elastic too and we make necklaces and bracelets – sometimes for ourselves but often as presents. we got more beads in Otavalo,where we visited a massive craft market. Its a place where lots of people wear traditional clothes.The men even have long black plaits!  I have got quite good at plaiting! We play on iPhone apps too, or play travel games like Rumicub, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and sometimes cards.

This traditional lady in Otavalo was as interested in us as we were in her and she wanted to touch our hair!

Me plaiting Lara’s little Barbie’s hair on a long boat trip!!

Me with Ludo on the Amazon river

Ben and me playing 31’s

About not going to school – Well, I miss my friends and my teachers because I loved my school in England. Mostly I miss talking to my friends, play dates and sleepovers. We arrived in the Galapagos a week ago and had our first week of school, where everyone speaks Spanish of course. It’s pretty hard sitting in lessons where you can’t understand much but at break its fun being with my new friends.

At our new school this week on San Cristobal, Galapagos.

Bad news it starts at 7 in the morning, good news is it finishes at 12.30!

Bad news is we didn’t have a half term holiday because we were doing Spanish school in Quito and now we have four weeks at school in San Cristobal, which is the name of the island we’re on. Lunch break is at 9.15 but only lasts 20 minutes! Good news is when we finish school here, it will be Christmas holiday time!

In the afternoon we go to the English centre where local children can do English classes. We join in and help. Some of the children are at our school too.

Me reading ‘Up’ with girls at the English centre

World school isn’t like school back home at all! When we had a lot of time on the boats we would do lessons a bit more like at school back home. Maths with my Dad, Geography, History, Writing or Spelling with my Mum.

Lara and me doing some school work on the Amazon in our cabin.

We found out about the Amazon while we were on the river – and learned lots of new stuff. Things our guides told us, things we saw and did….  then when we had other questions, we looked them up on the Internet . The Amazon is the longest river in the world, just a bit longer than the Nile. The fresh water that flows into the Atlantic is the same amount as the next five biggest rivers in he world put together!

Learning to drive a canoe

Learning to fish

Last month, we went on a bus from Coca to Quito – from the Amazon rainforest to the high Andes mountains, where you see lots of snow topped volcanoes. We went up about 3000m in one day! 3km! We watch where we are going on a map on Mum’s iPhone because it uses satellites that show an arrow on the map where we are. And it shows information like latitude, longitude, and height above sea level too.  While we were in Quito we went on a cable car up to 4000m where we all felt out of breath but looking over Quito was amazing. We took Flat Stanley and had a really great time that day.


At the top of the TeleferiQo cable car, we walked a bit more, then we were at 4000m. We all felt quite puffed out. We were 0.18 degrees latitude, south of the Equator and 78.5 degrees longitude, west of Greenwich, in England!

Fun on Quito’s TeleferiQo – can you spot Flat Stanley too?

We survive the TeleferiQo and stand on top of the World, looking out at Quito and snowy volcanoes

We went on a trip to El Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world) where the equator is. We have now crossed the Equator loads of times since our first journey four months ago when we crossed it in the aeroplane to get to Rio de Janeiro.

We went to a massive monument there which was where French explorers and scientists visited from 1736 to 1742 and marked it as an exact point on the equator – they actually got it a bit wrong but remember they didn’t have satellite, only looking at the stars so it must have been very difficult! They also went to the North Pole and then measured the distance from the Equator to the North Pole and divided it by 10 million and called that measurement a meter! So that is how the meter was invented.

Mitad del Mundo

We also went to a museum up the road that really is on the equator called Inti Nan and did cool experiments like seeing water go down the plughole straight on the equator but clockwise and anticlockwise on different sides We read that this maybe a trick  but it definitely looked real to us! You can see it on this Youtube video of the Correolis Effect and decide for yourself!

Another time, in Brazil, we saw some really old maps stuck up in the toilets in an old hotel where we went for dinner! They were amazing! We took photos…one was a very very old map of when South America was being discovered and another was a very old map of the world that was being discovered 500 years ago. We could see that they hadn’t figured out all of Chile or the west side of North America and they hadn’t found Australia or New Zealand!

The old map we found – without the west of America, or Australia, New Zealand, or Chile

My Mum said that was a world school history and geography lesson….I like this kind of lesson!

Google Earth shows our hotel Le Mision in Coca with the swimming pools and aeroplane with its wings chopped and made into a boat!

Actually, Ben and I drew world maps and South America maps and put places and our journey on them. It’s good to understand about where you are in the world when you’re travelling about ! And we often look at where England is compared to where we are!

Google Earth shows where we live back home!

One day, we were looking at Google Earth with my Dad. We could see where we were in Ecuador – the river Napo and the town of Coca and even the swimming pools at the hotel. Then we went from there all the way across South America and the Atlantic Ocean up to Europe and then to England and then we zoomed right in on the south coast and then found our town, our street and then even our house! I loved that!

We did Spanish lessons in Quito for three weeks and for four hours a day. Ben and Lara and I had some lessons together and some just on our own with different teachers which was better. My Mum and Dad had their own lessons too.

Sometimes we did art or cooking and sometimes we all went together with out Spanish teachers on an outing. We went to the market, the supermarket, the natural history museum and the water museum.

At the Water Museum in Quito with our teachers Anita and Steph

Me and Flat Stanley in a giant bubble at the water museum

For Maths we do a lot with money – they had Reals in Brazil, Sols in Peru and they have US dollars in Ecuador. Ben is usually in charge of all the coins and I help too! We play card games and Rummicub too that help with our maths but we have to do other work to keep up with what year 5 and year 3 are doing at school back home and we haven’t done that much yet!

Money and Cards!!!

For English, I suppose we mainly do reading. Dad read an African safari book and Mum read some Michael Morpurgo books to us. Ben wrote a book review about The Butterfly Lion. We both read our own books too but we often seem too busy to read every day. We got loads of new books on our Kindles about a month ago, so I’ve been reading The Magic Tree House and George’s Marvellous Medicine which my class back home are reading too.

We did some spellings too and we both did a test – I got 10 out of 10. We haven’t done them for a while though. Mum and Dad say we’ll have to do more when we’re not concentrating on Spanish.

Lara does phonics and counting most days. She likes to write the letters on Mum’s iPhone on some apps we downloaded and she’s getting better. She can now count to twenty and is starting to count to thirty! Ben and I can count to 100 in Spanish and Lara can count to 10!  I’m trying to teach her to 20!

Lara practicing writing her numbers

Lara is getting better at her letters and phonics

My last question was about any adventures we’ve done like the jungle trek to the beach in Ilha Grande. Well when we were in the Amazon, we did trekking and I hated it because it was really really hot and there were loads of mosquitos and I got loads and loads of bites bites bites!

We also went one night to camp in the jungle and I wore a mosquito hat with a net that went right over my face! We went in a canoe into the dark river and it was really scary, then after a while the boat went through long grasses and and we pulled up on a bank and climbed through the trees.

Going on our overnight jungle adventure with our friend Phil who lent me this mossie hat! Dad and Lara stayed at the lodge.

It seemed as though our guide was lost as we climbed up through forest, without any path and with mosquitos buzzing everywhere and it was really scary but  eventually we got to this small camp and put up our hammocks – our guide got Ben quickly into the first hammock which went up, because he thought it was me and he said I was allergic to mossies!  Then he realised I was still out and had to bundle me into the next one! We went to sleep listening to howler monkeys and really loud insects buzzing all night which was amazing – it was so loud! I still got bitten though, even though I had a mosquito net, but it had holes in!

Waking up in the morning in the middle of the jungle!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julia Arnold
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 16:17:38

    What a brilliant blog, Zoe. It was fantastic to read, really interesting and very well written – better than some of the journalists I work with!
    Miss you lots,
    Julia xxxx


  2. freespirit41
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 18:12:29

    Phantastic blog, Zoe! What an adventure you are all having. Any mossies in the Galapagos?
    See you soon. O xxxxx


  3. Nima Zanjani
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 19:12:44

    Hi Zoe, It’s Nima. I really miss you, I loved that picture with all of you dangling from the helicopter. I spotted flat Stanley twice in your pictures. I can’t wait to see you again. Year 3 is fun, I’m having violin lessons every Tuesday. Love from Nima.


    • Zoe
      Nov 20, 2012 @ 18:00:39

      Hi Nima, It was really great to hear from you – thanks for commenting on my blog. Its really nice to get comments and messages.
      By the way that was a cable car we were hanging out of:) I had a quick check of the photos and Flat Stanley is in three of them so I wonder if you can spot the third one? I’m glad year 3 in fun. I have been going to school in year 4 here and its pretty difficult. Am I in the Galapagos islands on the world map in the classroom? Love Zoe


  4. katebil
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 20:53:04

    Finally Flat Stanley is back in the blog! 🙂 Sounds like you are having a great time


  5. Val
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 20:55:56

    Thank you Zoe – this is great! I just got it tonight and really enjoyed reading it. I will read it and show the pictures to the children on Monday. They will LOVE it! Some of the children have written messages and more questions for you. I will send them soon. I have made a display in the entrance hall all about the Clark Family Adventures so now you are really famous! Part of it is a world map with a line showing your journey so far. I will send pictures to show you. We are finding it so exciting to read about all your adventures and it is making geography so interesting for the children. They are very jealous of all the things you are doing. Thanks again. Val x


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