I don't have any particular agenda for this one. As we have begun the regular program, I only want to share as much information as possible with our supporters and friends.
The program is doing better than I could have hoped. I've been in touch regularly with the team in Haiti, and they have found many more reasons to be happy than to be concerned. We started with the "opening ceremony" on September 7th. This was a day to welcome the school to our program, get to know the students, and have some fun. The school's administration and even administrators from nearby schools came to survey and celebrate. We were also lucky enough to host an inspector from the Haitian ministry of education for an interview.
Here you can see the practice keyboard layouts that were taught alongside the laptops. Also, we secured our own t-shirts for the event!
Most importantly, here we ran our first survey. This will help us determine our deficiencies once we've run through a whole month of instruction.
The following Monday, we really began teaching. It's surreal to picture the laptops I tinkered with, packed and shipped in the hands of these students right now, but here they are.
I'm meeting with the whole team regularly, and our directors James and Gorlonne report that the curriculum is being taught as planned, and that students really enjoy it. In fact, James has told me that some students want to help teach the rest of the class, or other classes! James and Gorlonne are either teaching very well, or making it really fun, or both.
They have done an excellent job reaching out to the community of Lamarre. I'd also like to welcome our newest volunteer, James' younger brother, who is working as a photographer for professional experience. His information will be on the website shortly.
Now I'd like to share some of our recent challenges. I'm grateful that the list isn't longer.
Without the immediate funds for a motorcycle, transport to Lamarre was difficult. Public transportation is widespread and popular in Haiti, but tap-taps and taxis still struggle to scale rural roads during the rainy season. Mud is a constant problem. We arranged a temporary solution, and the straps keeping our crates secure held. Still, our own off-road moto is our first financial goal.
As for finances, we are once again struck by an uncontrollable, global problem. The value of the US dollar in September has significantly decreased relative to the Haitian Gourde. If this persists, it will be more difficult to secure resources in Haiti with the funds we have left. We will record this and any further changes in our financial summary as accurately as possible.
Our last problem is a good one to have. Our teachers have been asked many times, by children of Lamarre outside the school, if they could join in on the curriculum too! Our local demand seems to already be ahead of supply. To help out with this, Gorlonne has proposed that the program stay in Lamarre an extra week, and open the classroom to the community. We've always wanted to teach as many kids as possible, but this will also give him a chance to evaluate the results of the program and our survey, as well as experiment with more specialized teaching. So, we will likely stay for a bit after our first month is over on October 14th.
It might be a good time to hand out more t-shirts. I'm considering making them available in the States, too...