Honduras means… ” Up and down. Up and down!!!!”

We learned the truth of this definition of Honduras today as we climbed ever higher into the mountains north and east of Siguatepeque. Each school we have visited so far has been located on a ridge higher than the last. Just when we think there can be no farms higher up, a rugged dirt road branches off and up, and soon enough a school appears. Of course this means that out travel time increases, but the ever- expanding vistas are more than worth the trouble, and the wonder and enjoyment on the faces of these isolated children cast a spell over us all. Just when we are prepared to claim that a particular school is our favorite, an even more magical face emerges and our hearts are captured anew. The mountain sides at these high elevations are more given over to coffee, but the pines and other trees have not been cleared away; instead, the rows of coffee plants hide in the shade of quite mature trees and peek out like visions of geometric order amidst the riotous natural growth. This contrast of wild and cultivated was endlessly fascinating. I noticed the hidden fields only from the corner of my eye or when my vision was sweeping over the hillsides. If I looked too closely they seemed to disappear. Our first school today was Jose Cecilio del Valle at Penita. Just as we arrived at the top of an impossibly steep ridge, we noticed some students running ahead to announce our arrival. Remembering just how many times this happened last year at Santa Rosita, my heart opened up and for an hour or two I was that loving man I once was years ago. The teachers told us that the students had been waiting for us since Monday, and that they had heard of our earlier visits to schools down in the foothills. We brought a photo of my son Owen and during the presentation, when Linda and Becky explained who we were and why we there with them, I believe that the teacher wiped away stead and gave us a certificate of thanks in return. This year we are much more focused and effective, more confident and able to quickly and clearly reveal to the students the possibilities of the XO. We have been accompanied by two officials of the Ministry of Education: Luis Enrique Castaneda, District Director of Education for Siguatepeque; and Edgar Figueroa, Professor of Technology. Both are active in deploying XOs in urban areas and are interested in our routines for introducing XOs in rural schools. Their presence makes us hope that future collaboration and mutual support is being established. Both men seemed caught up in the emotions of watching students who had never seen a computer before master basic keyboarding skills and apply mathematical and grammatical skills to the game-like XO programs. Three hours flew by like minutes. We have developed a series of teaching activities that begins with sound symbol -recognition and ends with an independent personal essay that is presented to the class. Along the way addition and art are explored as well.In the afternoon, we stopped at the school in Del Carmen, where XOs were deployed last year. Unfortunately, the teacher had left and when feasible the students met in a small Catholic church. A group from France is currently building an adobe school at Del Carmen and a new teacher had been hired this past Monday. The students had kept their XOs and used them at home intermittently. We met their new teacher and gathered the XOs to clean them and download some new programs. We will return there on Thursday to focus on utilizing the XO in day-to-day teaching activities. Gathering them up was emotional for the students, some of whom cried because they believed that we were taking them away for ever! We reassured them. One young fellow had left his XO at home and sprinted off to get it before we left. Other students told us he lived on the top of the mountain which dominated the view from the church. Minutes later he returned smiling and obviously winded. I’ll include photos tomorrow.With love,Mark

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2 thoughts on “Honduras means… ” Up and down. Up and down!!!!”

  1. Pedro Cuéllar says:

    HelloGreat work that you’re doing. Always great to hear from people helping OLPC deployments to improve. Please keep updating the community. Good luck!

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