November marks the beginning of Haiti's dry season. Rooves will be quieter, air will be crisper, and most importantly for us, roads will be drier. In fact, our road ahead has recently become much easier to navigate.
I'd like to show enormous gratitude to the St. Dunstan's Foundation. They have recently awarded us a grant to fund our teacher's wages and gasoline expenses until the end of the school year, plus an off-road motorcycle. We can finally be independently mobile and secure in our program until school is out! As James' younger brother put it, describing how he felt about his IT skills after our month at Lamarre, "Now, I am ready."
We've discussed our target for five rural schools by the end of March. We will teach in Colladere beginning this month. Schools are closed through most of December for the holiday, so we will resume with our third school in January, our fourth in February, and so on. However, instead of sitting on our laptops through Christmas, James has proposed an interim program. We plan to open up some "social teaching" in Colladere or Lamarre during school break, opening our program to 30-40 kids for a more intensive course. In this way, we will engage children who were not at our particular school, or who have a strong personal interest in tech literacy.
With our first complete round of survey data from Lamarre, our US team will start the full-time search for further grants to support our development. These won't be just for more gasoline, though. If, in the following months, we run our program without issue, James and I will begin discussing how best to implement a second lab that addresses the problems with the first. For example, we will be seeking smaller and lighter laptops, such that we might fit a new lab into just one crate. Additionally, we're already looking at how to include a curriculum more in line with the Haiti Ministry of Education's suggestions, in our current labs and future ones.
Finally, I'd like to report that our Haiti team has seen no pressure from COVID in their area. We know that public awareness doesn't necessarily correlate to infection rate, so we are still cautious and monitoring student illness. However, I'm hopeful that low population density in the regions we had already planned to serve will keep infection away indefinitely.
I'm sorry that I couldn't provide many pictures to make this post lighter. James has told me to expect some new pictures and even video interviews soon! I only wanted to share important news as soon as possible.
With gratitude and grace,