Monday, July 20, 2009

A week in review....

A week in Review......
After a couple of discussions, I've realized that I'd like to shift the focus of my blog. From now on I'm going to try to upload more pictures and see if I could tell a story around the picture. So starting from 7.20ish.2009, that will be the focus of the blogs. For those of you that have been reading and enjoying my longs rants, don't worry. These pictures are meant to enhance the text of the blogs and give a reference point.
There have been a lot of things that have gone on in the past week. The one week I should have been blogging daily, I didn't.... No worries though. I'm going to give you a wrap up of what went on in the past week. Its a little sketchy so forgive me.
We planned to distribute laptops today. What we failed to realize is that the day after independence day is a public holiday as well. We got to the school and there was no one there. There was one girl that showed up eager to get her laptop but we decided not to distribute. We would do it all on Tuesday. We got a good dry run in though.

Launch day! (officially) we distributed over 50 laptops today! It was pretty cool to see all the kids waiting anxiously to get their laptops. We even had kids trying to pose as other kids so they could get the laptop. It was difficult because we had many kids come whose name was not on the list to receive laptops. We had the Head of the school decide who should get laptops and who shouldn't so we didn't feel like we were picking and choosing. I felt like we were though. Who brings 100 laptops to a school of 300? A part of me felt bad for the kids that were not getting laptop but a part of me knew that it was important that this first year goes well in order to get more xo laptops to Sao Tome in the future. I looked at it is crawling before you could walk or run. Sure we  would all like to run right away, but it might not work out.
We were giving out laptops to the kids and then having them go to the next classroom for an introduction. We wanted to introduce basic concepts to them about the laptops like care, power and simple operation. Mike was teaching the initial concepts lesson. It was interesting to see kids helping other kids out. Some would get things faster than other and explain it to their friend.
After distribution day, Judy and I went to Mocha Plantation. This plantation was one of many plantations nationalized after the independence of Sao Tome from the Portuguese. The coffee plantation still produces coffee 7 months out of the year.  Most of the people that still live on the plantation are descendants of the slaves who lived and worked on the plantation. We got a tour of the plantation by one of the workers and got to see the process of making the coffee ready for sale. Judy even bought a bunch of coffee from the plantation.
Distribution day Part 2!! This was the day when everyone came...When I say everyone... I mean everyone was there. The Prime Ministers wife was there on behalf of the prime minister and the director of Education was there. There were about 80 kids stuffed in one class and they were all doing introductory work. It was a great photo op for the radio, television and newspaper that was there. Pretty big day..
After that, me and Judy went to the U.N building to meet with the UNICEF  Deputy Representative Batilloi Warritay and educational specialist Alberto Neto.  We discussed several projects that we could assist with. Distribution of Laptops and training could only take up so much of our day and we could use this opportunity to learn more about Sao Tome. UNICEF deals directly with children and women issues. Their programs span from education about health issues to education about gender roles. Pretty cool stuff. We got some statistics about women and children in Sao Tome like birth rate, age, disease and other figures. It was  a really informative meeting.
After a good day like that, it was just nice to go home and sleep.
A lot of stuff happened. I'll just highlight  a bunch of stuff throughout the last couple of days. a director of external affairs, I found out that someone was having an art Exhibition in the city so I took the group there... Pretty nice. I want some of this guys art.
I got into a motorcycle accident....ya... um I hurt my head and my arms and my leg. I was a little bloody but I was okay. I eventually called Dr. Wang, a friend of ours that we made on the island, and he checked me out the next day and side I was lucky.
Mike, Corey and Judy went to Peako de Sao Tome. It was a two day trek and they did it... Pretty good stuff.  Danielle and Ashley went to Joao Carlos's crib.... it was decent. They had good food and they taught English to the ladies that worked their.
Oh we added a new member to our team as well. Laura is from France. Her father is from Sao Tome and her mother is from France. She is a political Science Major and hopes to eventually to go to get her masters degree in International Development. It was a nice change of pace and it will be really nice to have her on the team for the two weeks that she's here.
Everyone else that was supposed to come came on Monday. Martin brought Damon, Sarah and Jeanie. They came in the morning and Judy left on the plane the came in on.  We taught Scratch, a programming application, to the kids. Pretty fun stuff.  Later on, we had a meeting with  the deputy representative and Martin and Paul. We talked about various projects that UNICEF wanted us to get involved with.
Well thats all... I'm going to try and finish strong with the last three weeks left. Man where has this summer gone?


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