(from yesterday, no Internet until now)

The second best part of this job is handing out the laptops to the children. Watching their eyes as they open them, turn them on, and first start using the trackpad and keyboard, I’m always grateful for the tireless hours that OLPC and the XO community have put into this magical machine for the good of the world.

The best part of this job comes much later, when we start seeing a different look in the eyes of the children, that of confidence, mastery, and surprise at what they can do. This is the quality we call “spark”, which is the ultimate gift that we are hoping to give. Spark affects a child’s entire life. The laptop is merely a tool for achieving this confidence and enthusiasm.

Yesterday started as before, up early while the community retrieved water from the new well down the hill. I’m always amazed while watching Haitians carrying such heavy loads on their heads, especially when they let their hands swing freely, walking up a rocky bumpy road with perfect balance. I pumped my daily water bottle using my water filter, then walked up the road to the school and round house.

Yesterday morning was about video and printing. Bill cut the “day 1” video while Beth took the Creole translations and copied them into the pretty outline pages. I made screenshots of the Lesson 1 project (in Creole) to create the handouts for the kids. We have very little paper here, which will become a problem. The original plan was to print spiral bound books for everyone back in Pennsylvania, but the text and translations weren’t ready in time.

These are just a few of the many things that occupy our time throughout the day. Before the children’s class we effectively drained the round house’s solar battery reserves, likely from all the laptop charging the day before. An extension cord from the school’s library was strung to the class area so we’d have power for the projector and laptops during the classes.

Seeing the children use the laptops, then make funny faces as they used Record to take pictures, was the day’s highlight. We then covered Etoys Lesson 1 (Projects) during the two hour class. I think the handouts will really help, as will the printed lesson plans for the mentors.

By the time the adult’s class was starting, I was truly exhausted. Midway through the lesson, the library’s power reserves were exhausted as well, so we couldn’t use the projector for most of it. Benaja did a wonderful job translating and helping, while I took too many breaks, sitting on a bench to catch my breath. The best part of the mentor class was watching everyone use the sound recorder in Etoys. I told them to “make a fool of themselves” and they all laughed and made funny noises. Some recorded music from their phones to play louder on the XO. I tried the same with some Wyclef.

After the class, Benaja, Chris, Beth, and I had our breakdown meet up in the library. We talked about many things, such as power and paper. We resolved a week long concern: what to do about Williamson. Since no mentors from Williamson were able to come to the training, Bill and Beth will train the children themselves over the single week rather than have a full six week pilot. When Williamson finds mentors, they can get trained later by the mentors we have now. This will help prove that our approach can spread throughout Haiti without our help.

I made a joke about needing a masseuse and Chris said, “We have a masseuse, five bucks.” Before I knew it, he was showing up at Robert’s house and I received a very welcome massage. Afterwards I slept soundly. It was a long tiring day, and was relieved to finally rest.

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