(about Wednesday)

Had a very successful meeting with our Matènwa mentors today, even though Bill and I were about ready to keel over in tiredness after a lot of travel. Normally, we’re not so tired, but I think the five past weeks are really starting to affect us!

Things that we talked about at Matènwa:

-The PORN ISSUE. Kids are using the internet to look for dirty pictures. We talked about putting a password on the internet because all those XOs hooked up is slowing down Chris’ connection at Matènwa anyway, but I wanted to put a rule down regardless of that fact because the kids need to realize that they have a responsibility to care for those computers anyway. We created a rule that any student found looking at porn will not be able to take their computer home all week. If they break this rule a second time, they will lose their privileges to take their computer home for the rest of the school year. Tomorrow, two of the mentors (one female and one male) will talk to the students about it before class. We’re hooking up OpenDNS for the whole school, so no porn will be possible in the future.

-Then the mentors are going to start reviewing lessons 6 and 7. They have been worried that people (both students and mentors) didn’t really understand lessons 6-10, so we’re going over them with the students so that the upcoming math lesson can be as easy as possible. The mentors have already done a wonderful storytelling class, and students have all created at least one story, if not two (though none of the stories had animations because they never understood that part of Etoys). Even though the time allotted for them (six weeks) is over (because the students already learned Etoys while Tim was here, then the two weeks after we left were supposed to be for storytelling and the final two weeks for math), the teachers have decided to hang on for another two weeks in hopes that we can get through the math lessons and complete the pilot. I know they have been frustrated and they are happy for the opportunity to make things right now that Bill and I are here. We gave them the videos today so they are studying them tonight. They’ll study their videos every night before class so that they can teach them correctly the next day. Then, they will do quick reviews of Basic Etoys, hoping that we can get through lesson 10 before we leave (but if we can’t, that’s fine).

-One of the things that will need to happen before these math classes can start, though, is providing food for students and mentors after class. They eat early in the morning and don’t have a chance to get lunch before computer class, so they don’t eat until well after 2:30. They will be able to continue doing this for two weeks if they have some sort of snack but are not sure they can without it. We will talk with Tim about this right away to see if we can resolve the problem for the last two [“extra”] weeks of class at Matènwa. These extra two weeks will also buy us time to allow the Petite Riviere and Darbonne pilots to finish so that we can see if we can get funding to continue forth after six weeks.

-Started organizing mentor meetings after class (no time before class because class starts right after school) to talk about what’s going well. I know the mentors are excited about this improved communication.

Just a few things we touched on. Too beat to think. Had a great brainstorm with Bill, Chris and John of Haiti Partners about the OLPC Deployment Summit that Waveplace is organizing in Maho in late May. I’m very excited about the opportunity to talk with other incredible people responsible for other deployments so that we can share ideas. Hoping we can get a lot of people to come. Tim, how’s that official announcement looking???

Internet is slow (oh Matènwa) but we’re glad to be back. Some of the kids laugh when they hear me speak Creole. Either it’s because they’re surprised I speak so well now, or because they’re making fun of me because of my horrendous grammatical errors. Trying to figure out which one it is!

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