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Educational program in Hungary, following the Spirit of Hungary throughout the Barcelona World Race

A Hungarian Primary School is following the Spirit of Hungary’s adventure around the World, during the Barcelona World Race 2014-15.  Children’s questions & Answers from the Spirit of Hungary Skippers:

The so called “Fejér Megyei Hírlap” (=Newspaper of Fejér County) has published articles on the goals of the educational program, the children’s questions, and answers from Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman skippers.

The article translated into English: Message for the shipmen:

An enthusiastic school class is using the latest technology and social media to enable them to follow two experienced sailors, New Zealander Conrad Coleman and local Hungarian Nándor Fa who are attempting to cross the Atlantic.  Not only do the children have the technology to follow them but the sailors are encouraging the young people to ask questions about their trip.

The young people bend over the map with flushed faces and smiles of excitement, their fantasies dancing on the back of waves, their imaginations roaming on faraway landscapes. However, there is also some natural concern about local man, Nándor Fa and his companion, Conrad Colman concerning their safety on this dangerous voyage. The grade 7 class of Seregélyes Baptista Elementary and Art School decided to follow, The Spirit of Hungary throughout this globe-trotting race and record every moment of this dangerous voyage and discuss the latest developments with each other.  In classes a huge map has been put up, where the latest positions of the sailing boats are. Meanwhile some students have been collecting articles from Fejér Megyei Hírlap and elsewhere looking for data which can be found on the internet. “This is much more, than entertainment”, – says the headmaster, József Sajtos. “I think it’s very important to follow Nándor’s voyage because we can show the children that in life you can achieve anything, if you work hard enough for it and that dreams can be reached”. “It is very important that children should see an example in front of them”, continued Jozsef Sajtos the teacher in charge of the project. “How we are following the progress of “The Spirit of Hungary” will allow us to practice and apply many subjects and sciences”. “We need IT knowledge to be able to use the race website and mathematical knowledge to evaluate the route ahead, without an understanding of physics we would not be able to plot the safest and logical course”. You can use the map if you have geographical knowledge; fortunately the seventh-grade class are learning the continents right now. We are planning to write letters to Nandor Fa, which is connected to Literature, furthermore the children will pose questions to Conrad Colman in English language – this is a part of the English subject.

Over the next few weeks a drawing competition will be organized for the children where they will have to draw and paint what kind of impressions they perceive Nándor Fa’s life to be like. “We would like to see whether it`s possible to send the pictures onto the ship”, said head teacher József Sajtos. Frequently, we sit down around the map and the children ask many questions, most of which I do not have an answer for. However, I explain to the children stories about Nándor Fa, such as his dangerous trip towards the equator in high seas.

I explain to the children that the front of the fleet are faster than the Spirit of Hungary because the other ships have a larger budget available to them, which enables them to invest in state of the art technology. That’s why they are easier to sail. Nándor Fa explains although he does not have the budget of the larger teams, he believes his boat “is the only one in the fleet that is up to date in terms of the internal structure and panel strength. I am unsure if the other fleet’s ships which are racing us have these parameters but their bigger budgets allow them to be significantly more manoeuvrable than us, however we believe we can catch up on them”. On the Hungarian sailing boat the sailors work on the deck the whole day even during the three hour rest time allocated. They work together as a team and seem to be in good health. The children are curious and fascinated, as I leave the school József Sajtos asks if I can pass on good wishes and good luck messages from the children who have become fans of Nandi’s and Conrad’s. The Atlantic Ocean is vast and unforgiving however it is hoped that some love and affection will help to overcome the real and the psychological difficulties.
Tamás Tihanyi  writer,  Fejér Megyei Hírlap – newspaper: Children’s questions & Answers from the Spirit of Hungary Skippers:

— why did you go into storms and between sharks?

Nandor: “The fear of something – it be a shark, a storm, or a foreign culture – always originates from the fear of the unknown. The things we know well, we can handle and we know how to act in order to solve a situation. If something is dangerous, it is important to have fear, but we shouldn’t let fear extinguish our curiosity. The more I know the features of a storm, the better I know how to survive it. Animal trainers, mountaineers, or base jumpers are not afraid, because they know what to expect and how to deal with sudden situations. School is there to teach us how to learn, the rest depends on us.”

Conrad: “Often the strong winds are our best friends because it helps us sail fast. We need to be careful with the boat and with ourselves, but I am not afraid of the big storms. The boat is strong and we are experienced so we know how to stay safe and keep thinking about the race.

Sharks are not at all a problem, we are on a big boat that is very safe. Actually sharks are not typically a problem for humans, we are not their favorite food and only eat us by accident because they think we are seals, which taste much better for them! The sharks should actually be afraid of us, not the other way around, because we are catching millions every year and soon there will be none left in the oceans!”

— where do you get your bravery from? maybe you used to be a soldier?

Nandor: “I haven’t been a soldier, but I don’t think bravery and achievements should be connected to being a soldier. When I was a boy of your age, I was always really attracted by two things: nature and adventure. Somehow these two were a pair for me. I’ve become a kayaker from wrestler, because I could do that in the nature. Obviously this interest was closely in connection with wanting to get to know the world. Later I discovered, that my wish to get to know the world is also about wanting to learn about myself. I always wanted to be more, different, and more efficient than others., and build my self-esteem with that. The more efficient I’d become, the more confident I became, and the more I could raise the amount and level of what I took on. Later when I was a successful athlete, I realized that empty results or merely the activity itself do not satisfy, you need a plus which is satisfying your own expectations. So I started to compare myself to my own expectations of what I would like to be like, and not to others. Then I found myself at sea, where there were lots of challenges and that is where I had found what I was looking for. The reason I’m here is: somewhere within the process of building, creation, physical and mental self-realization.”

Conrad: “The bravery comes from my motivation and desire to be here. If I did not really really want to be here maybe I would go home when I saw the big waves, but I have worked for years and years to have this opportunity so I cannot be afraid when my dream comes true!

Maybe it is similar to be a soldier, because in the moment of danger you need only to think about the job you need to do, not about your fear. If you are afraid, and hesitate or don’t do your job, you are in more danger than if you are brave and do your job correctly the first time.”

— Why did you leave the nice calm home for the many danger of the sea?

Conrad: “Sometimes I ask myself the same question! No, really I am happy to be at sea because it is difficult. I want to live a passionate interesting life and for me it is exciting to face challenges and find solutions to problems. If I would stay at home and do the same thing everyday I would be bored. I think it is important for you to also find something exciting in your lives, either a hobby or an interesting job, to help you grow.”

— Why is the boat called Spirit of Hungary? Does the government support the project?

Nandor: “We named our boat Spirit of Hungary because we intended to show the world what we are capable of, being far away from sailing cultures, from sailing industry, by merely using our own knowledge and determination. The government does not support us, only with sympathy and encouragement. I was surprised when our prime minister Vikor Orbán called me in Barcelona before the start, wishing me good luck a safe journey.”

— Is there time to cut your hair?

Nandor: I cut my hair a few days ago, in the middle of the ocean. We get 220V from an inverter, which is transformed from a hydro generator. So we can use all these kinds of electric gadgets within a certain performance limit. For me, cutting my hair was just about turning the little haircut machine on, and running it around my head.

Nandor and Conrad closed their letters with the following sentences:

Nandor: “We hope we could answer your questions more or less well, and did not disappoint you. I wish you a good preparation for the adventures you choose for yourselves – they be scientific, or physical challenges one day.”

Conrad: “Thanks for following our adventures on the Spirit of Hungary.”