Laying on the floor outside my new office is a pile of branches from palm trees around the campus. They are quite common around Hong Kong. Normally they will be picked up by the street cleaners and thrown away, as garbage. They are even more plentiful in Cambodia.
Tomorrow I will start teaching the students in our service-learning class how to turn them into something useful. Then when we go to Cambodia in June, they can show our friends there how they can turn these dead branches from these plentiful indigenous plants into something they can use themselves, or sell.
Last year we designed LED lights for our friends in Rwanda and Cambodia. They are powered by batteries charged with electricity generated by solar panels. Tomorrow I am going to teach our students how to cut and shape these palm branches, and to embed LED lights in them, to make desk lamps, floor lamps, wall lamps, ceiling lamps, …
Service-Learning is the reason why I stay at the university after retirement. In fact, I am not really retiring yet because I am enjoying it so much.