Yesterday we started with breakfast at Manalo’s Inn while I blogged, then picked up Michena for our bumpy journey along Route 2 to Léogâne/Darbonne. Our first stop was in Miragoâne to meet with Father Grandjean from the Petite Rivière school. We were surprised when we arrived to see his new school, with an audience already assembled to hear about our program. They even sang for us as we arrived.

The group was very impressed with the laptop and with our vision for education. Father Grandjean seems like a great partner for both Petite Rivière and Miragoâne. I was very happy we brought Michena with us, as having her speak of her experiences (in Creole) to the group was clearly effective.

After Miragoâne, we continued along a smoother section of Route 2 to Petite-Goâve to meet with O.N.E.T, another prospective Waveplace partner. They too had assembled many children and adults for our talk, and they too sang for us!

At both locations, it was very difficult to say “maybe” to these hopeful people, particularly the children. Our purpose was to evaluate the locations for possible pilots, but when you’re talking in front of a large group, it’s hard to press the point that they might not be chosen. We are at the mercy of OLPC, who decides whether they will receive laptops, and our donors, who decide whether to help us fund these pilots. I did have the kids say into the video camera, “Please give us laptops”, in English, just to make it harder for OLPC and the donors to say no. We at Waveplace of course would say “yes”, though it is not for us to say.

O.N.E.T looks like a very strong grassroots Haitian organization that would also be a very good partner. Meeting groups in person is incredibly valuable.

After Petite-Goâve, we continued on Route 2 to Léogâne. Soon after we left, the car began to act funny, as though the transmission were in trouble. The car was shaking in frightening ways. After a while, it started to smell, so we pulled over to check things over. After scratching our heads about it, we decided to continue, and strangely, the problem went away. Later we determined that I had switched to 4 wheel drive while using the gas, which is not good.

Finally reaching Darbonne, we saw Joseph, the team leader for our pilots there, on a motorcycle. After hearty greetings we continued to one of the four schools where they are working with the children. Today there were only a few of the 40 students working with the laptops, along with four mentors. They say as well!

As in Petite Rivière, it was great to see the mentors again. It’s also something to see Darbonne for myself. The destruction from the earthquake is clearly visible, as are the rebuilding efforts. The hammers didn’t stop until well after 10pm. I only help our efforts can help as much!

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