Saturday August 31st – in Grand-Goâve, Haiti
This will be our typical morning schedule at Mission of Hope: Arise at 6AM. Shower. Breakfast laid out at 6:30AM – warm cereal, fresh fruit, bread, peanut butter, etc. My favorite fruits are zabriko and mango. Zabriko is similar to apricot, but more firm and a bit spicier. Then organize materials to be taken up to school and work area. Fill water bottle here because water here tastes so good! Depart by bus at 7:30AM.
Brand new school building, which is “earthquake proof”Two groups of volunteers, technical and non-technical, work in parallel, with some cross-over. The technical folk are situated in the new school building.
Adam, George and Kevin set up shop. Kevin is a pastor, computer person and martial arts expert!Very early today, they realized with dismay that the critical http://internet-in-a-box.org terabyte drive (digital library) was left in NY City during the mad dash to Haiti. There was a mad scramble to evaluate if all was lost, and then a plan was cooked up to grab another school’s terabyte drive and attempt to duplicate it. This was anxiety-producing because it depended on many people changing their schedules, motorcycles, tap taps and a donated school bus — and most important strangers making tight connections between them to move this essential piece (“the world’s greatest open/remixable knowledge”) across Haiti. Would it be possible at all?
Leah (right) is the nurse, here speaking with Kevin’s wife Tammy (left), a woman of many talents who plans to work on Mission of Hope’s future library.Other volunteers work in “The Missionary Room”, situated just beyond the Infirmary. We clear off tables and plan for setting up a sort of computer lab where the laptops can be worked on.
Laptops in Missionary RoomThere are 60 numbered laptops that belong to Mission of Hope and about 170 un-numbered ones that are reserved for learning sites across Haiti which will be selected in the future. We are not yet sure when school will begin but are waiting for Pastor Lex’s announcements in church tomorrow. In the back of our minds we are asking what lessons to prepare for the kids this week. We want to combine the expertise of our expert mediamaking volunteers (Bill Stelzer especially) with the talents of the Child in Hand teacher-mentors: Junior and Elisabeth. We expect Elisabeth to join us for the week starting tomorrow. She comes from Léogâne, the actual site of 2010’s earthquake. (See https://www.facebook.com/pages/Child-in-Hand/181923065198109)
Today we also are expecting the arrival of an experienced Haiti volunteer, Sora Edwards-Thro, who speaks Haitian Creole. Sora has been volunteering near the Dominican border, working in a remote desert area. Her short visit to connect with us involves eight hours of nighttime boat transport on the open sea to Marigot, then land travel to Jacmel, and then over the mountains with the boys. Bill and Junior from our group went to meet her there and bring her to our Grand-Goâve site. Cramped tap tap and dramatic rides over the mountains, they connected easily and returned sooner than expected! She will be leaving already tomorrow afternoon for her return journey, keeping different “OLPC schools” across Haiti in active conversation!
After a long journey, Sora arrives
The recovery plan to find a copy of the missing hard drive is set in motion! Contact was made with another Child in Hand site, Pasteur Silar’s Orphanage just north of Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately he was not at his orphanage, but ever so graciously offered to travel back there to retrieve the critical bits, loan us the only copy in Haiti of the critical data, hand-deliver this by moto to Jeanide a friend of ours, who would take it to the airport by a 1 o’clock deadline. At the airport, a Mission of Hope driver would collect her with the essential drive, and return to our school in Grand-Goâve. There were bound to be glitches (yes, the driver could not coordinate, due to his cellphone drowning in the sea) but that just added to the excitement. It was an anxious time, but we were so appreciative of generosity at every turn! And quite astonishingly, the “drive’s drive” was a success! Raiders of the Lost Drive indeed, only Indiana Jones would be jealous: this was the real world, with absolutely no other options. PHEW!!!!
Consequently, Sora and Jeanide got to meet each other on a high note, with a truly great project coming together ahead of them, and had time to play with the XO laptops properly. Jeanide worked with the Paint program, drawing butterflies and coloring them, beginning to cook up much larger creative project lesson plans…
Jeanide and Sora with laptops
Then it was time to return to the beach house for dinner. We decided to walk. What a beautiful walk it was too! And just beat torrential rains! We chose the shorter route which involves walking through the river at several points. (But OUCH! My delicate feet!)
Beautiful scene from the beach
A warm dinner (always tasty!), chat, planning for tomorrow, then shower and bed for me, but late late hours for the tech people! I enjoyed chatting with Renée about reading, books, libraries and our plans for a weekly reward system for kids’ laptop projects.
Day 3, Saturday, ends with us delighted to meet friends and to recover the digital library, which we hope will unleash many Haitians for years to come.