(from Tuesday, no Internet until now)

Yesterday morning, Robert told me, “I will fix the electricity today. I will look at the solar and will charge with the generator.” I nodded my head with an eager smile. Off he went up to the round house, with my multi-tool in his hand. Earlier I watched him fix a portable DVD player with that same tool, which really impressed me. Robert will be our Matènwa XO repair person, no doubt.

Electricity is a real issue, even in this school with pretty good power. The 40 extra laptops have had a strong impact on their solar battery reserves, interrupting normal operations. The kids want their XOs powered all the time, of course. Each morning as I walk up the hill to the library, I usually collect about five or ten children with XOs, each wanting me to open the library so they can plug in their laptops. If anyone reading this blog wants to help us reach the next step … $40 solar panels for each child so they can charge all through day at their home … please contact us and we’ll put your money to immediate use.

In the morning I blogged a bit and did more translation research. I’ve been trying to do a relatively simple computer task, using a tool called csv2po to translate a spreadsheet of Creole into a format that can be used with Etoys so that everyone can have our new Creole translations. Unfortunately, I usually have Internet in the morning, but rarely after that, making it hard to bring up simple text web pages for help.

In the library, I saw Beth and Bill working on the Internet. Not one to waste an opportunity, I jumped on as well. After a bit, Chris told us that they only have a certain amount of bandwidth they can use per day, and after they reach this limit, their satellite company throttles them to nearly nothing for the rest of the day. Useful information! Bill was in the middle of his second attempt to upload a 50 megabyte video for another client. Earlier in the week I had a Skype video call with Isabel and Paula. I’m sure we’ve watched the occasional YouTube video as well. Mystery solved. No wonder we have no Internet at night!

After our morning work, the group went to Chris’s house for a few demonstrations. First basket and hat weaving with an arts group that meets on Chris’s porch, then coffee-making the original way, with fresh beans and a big pot. Best cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.

Back for the children class (Lesson 6, Scripts), Beth brought them outside to move their bodies in combined commands to illustrate the idea of a script, then taught them inside using the projector. Yes, we had power! Thank you Robert! Apparently there was some problem with the wires between the batteries and the solar panels. We had power for the rest of the day, which was a big relief.

The mentor class covered Lesson 7 (Variables), which was the first of the lessons we weren’t able to cover in the time allowed. In retrospect, we spent too much time explaining the X/Y coordinate grid, which was unfamiliar to most of the mentors. The lesson was really about variables, not Cartesian geometry, so in the future we’ll gloss over things and simply say, “Move the sketch around and see how big and small you can make X and Y.” By the end, I had only time enough to show the slider, but not let them try. I also wasn’t able to show the joystick, which is also in this lesson.

The day ended with our breakdown talk and dinner at Robert & Janose’s house. I had another massage from Wilson, then watched the movie “Marie Antoinette” on Robert’s fixed DVD player.

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