(from newsletter)

In Early May I headed back to Haiti to check on the Waveplace pilot at Mercy and Sharing’s John Branchizio School. Haiti is one of the most turbulent places in the western hemisphere, and since I had last been there in February, rising food prices had caused rioting and the ouster of the country’s Prime Minister. During this time, by necessity Waveplace’s pilot had been put on hold. When I touched down on the Port au Prince tarmac it was relief to see that the city was back to normal. (Though I did have a UN soldier standing guard with an automatic weapon outside my door 24 hours a day – but that’s another story)

I met that evening with Emile Jean Rousa, lead mentor and talked about the progress the kids had made so far. It was quite encouraging, as despite the political troubles holding up classes, and the fact that it was too dangerous for the kids to take their laptops home with them to practice, they were extremely motivated working with their XOs and were making significant progress.

When we were able to get everything together for lessons to resume, I have to say it was pretty surreal. We had to use the orphanage’s cafeteria, where the only light came in through decorative holes cut into the concrete walls. It was almost like being in a futuristic movie, with these kids lit by their XO screens and gritty streaks of sunlight as they concentrated on learning the skills needed to paint on the computer.

What was also otherworldly was how disciplined and focused the kids were, as well how well the mentors were able to guide the kids through the steps needed, despite the conditions. (Steps, that keep in mind, were totally foreign to the kids who had before this pilot, never even touched a computer before.)

It struck then me that easiest part of Waveplace Haiti pilot is the kids actually learning the XO and eToys. It’s just every other single thing that’s difficult!

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