I was ridiculously happy. In fact, I was in my living room jumping up and down and doing a dance that resembled the hokey pokey.
A girl at my school named Kat was the source of my glee. My mom looked at the computer screen to see what was making me jump for joy.
“‘Here is my first submission for composting,'” she read out loud. “‘Three pounds that has been accumulating for the past couple of days…?’ That’s nice, dear.”
Things couldn’t be going better. I had asked teachers at my school to distribute the fliers for me during their classes, and all of them had responded positively. One teacher who I didn’t even know until I shyly slipped into his room one morning was so enthusiastic that I had to stammer my thanks, taken completely by surprise. I had heard he was strict! My little sister came home from school that day, awed by my sudden “fame” for being mentioned by her teacher as he passed out the flier. Some of my classmates approached me in the hallway to ask about my project to promote composting, and the very next night the teacher who was presiding over the giant freezer in her room that was acting as a drop-off zone sent me an email notifying me that kids were already bringing in scraps and I had better get a log sheet there, stat!
If the email from Kat (complete with pictures) had me dancing, the video that I received from another student had me on the ceiling, like something straight out of Mary Poppins. To anyone else, the video he sent was nothing special, just 30 seconds of a boy put stuff in a trashcan. To me, it was gold.
The only email responses I have received by email over the first two weeks were from those two, but, with one week still to go in the compost challenge, I am hopeful. I have not been checking the log sheet I had posted on the freezer at school. I don’t think I’ll check it for the rest of the competition. I want the big reveal at the end, but more than anything, I don’t want to watch it fail. I am a coward. I’ll admit it. I am too afraid to risk seeing the sheet empty. I have an image in my head: next week I’ll check the classroom freezer and the sheet will have one name, my sympathetic friend’s, and there will be one bag of cantaloupe rinds there at the very bottom. All alone. (My dreams have always been a little freaky.)
So I am promising myself one thing: no matter what happens during this project, I will not be disappointed. There’s no need to be. Anything that comes out of these efforts is a gain, no matter how small. The excited attitude from my teachers and the almost instant response from at least some of my peers was all that I could ask for.
So this project is about accumulating pounds of food scraps, and saving them from from being wasted in overcrowded landfills in New Jersey. But it’s also partly about people. I’m hoping that, when I do look, I will find allies that had been there the whole time.