With a 9am scheduled pick up, I woke relatively late, with just enough time to drink some coffee and write my daily blog post.  Elizabeth, Evens, and Jean-jean showed up at Visa Lodge first, then Ysmaille with the car.  We loaded up twenty laptops and got for the drive up the mountain.  Quarters were cramped, but spirits were high.  Though I couldn’t understand much, everyone was telling jokes in Creole, including Beth.

The school was a wonder.  Walking inside the gate of Acacia School, children were at recess, chasing plastic cups like soccer balls.  My mood improves whenever I’m near children.  I began taking photos and talking to the children with my limited Creole.

Upstairs in class, I introduced myself and the laptop.  Surprisingly, most of the children raised their hand when I asked if they had a computer, which hasn’t happened in Haiti before.  When I was describing the laptop, one of the boys asked if it had a touchpad and was disappointed when I said no.  Again, this hasn’t happened before.  We gave out the laptops and led them through putting their names and colors in.  These kids were bright, no doubt.

As time went on, I learned that these were seventh graders, which is about two years older than our target age range.  Caroline said they’d start the pilot and then the school would use the laptops for the kindergarten, first, and second grade students, which is below our age range.  This was the last minute replacement school for JP/HRO, so clearly expectations hadn’t been communicated.  I talked with Caroline for a bit to discuss how we could align our goals more. As we left, I passed a room and learned why the children were so familiar with computers.

Back at AMSAI, we set up the chairs and crossed our fingers to see how many children and mentors would show up today, given yesterday’s protesting.  We were happy to see more than half the children and most of the mentors.  Only the Cite Soleil mentors didn’t show for the children’s class, though they did show for the mentor class.

We started the children on Lesson 6, which teaches scripting. I made a big deal about how they were now officially computer programmers.  Having the one-on-one mentoring was a great help as each showed their child how to drag out the tile to make a script, etc.  After Lesson 6, we talked about storytelling, discussing what makes a good story:  who it’s about, where they are, when it happens, what happens to them, how they resolve the story.  We’ll be working on the children’s stories for each of the remaining days, devoting less and less time to each Etoys lesson.

The mentors class was tough.  I taught Lesson 8 .. tests, which is pretty important.  Some of the mentors were right there with me, picking things up immediately while others struggled with Etoys snafus, such as the ease of dropping things in the wrong place, etc.   Elizabeth was ill and Beth was busy fixing computers, so it was just me, Evens, and Jean-Jean working the room.  At the end of the class, I was truly exhausted.  At our breakdown meeting we all agreed that we need one lead trainer and four group trainers, especially for the later lessons.

Beth came back to the hotel with me, where we had dinner and talked about non-computer things, or tried to.  Around 8pm, Darma showed up for some laptop lessons.  He was very impressed with some of the possibilities.  I showed him collaboration and other Sugar stuff.

When I went to bed, I vowed to not again do a handout and three teaching sessions in one day.  We really need to alternate lead trainers, otherwise burnout is inevitable, even over two weeks.

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