Friday the 13th redux

Sally has warned me about the purple prose in the last post, so I will offer a general apology and promise to stay on theme. I am writing this from Roatan, a Honduran island off the coast of La Ceiba. Last night on the beach I asked Sally to marry me again. Fortunately, she said yes. Here I am off theme again!! On Friday of last week, our last day in Siguatepeque, we returned to Santa Rosita. We had had such a wonderful reception there last year that I feared they might have forgotten about us in the intervening year and would be unmoved. Maybe this was the spirit of Friday the 13th. I need not have worried. After all we were bringing back some of their XOs that we had used to train in the other schools. In addition, they were not in the mud and wattle hut from last year, but in a brand new school with concrete walls and a tin roof. It was situated, like all of the mountain schools we visited, in an absolutely beautiful spot with a vista overlooking the coffee-covered hillsides and misty mountains in the distance. Photos are coming. Lynn Campaign had taken photos of all the children, which I had in my classroom in Seguin all year long. I recognized everyone!  More than ever I was ashamed of my basic Spanish. It seemed as if every child wanted to show me all that they could do with their XOs. They were every bit as agile and competent on their keyboards as any American child. Our usual lesson plan was clearly too basic for this group. Richard and Becky took the older kids to work on programming and on updating new programs using a USB which contained updated versions of XO software. These students could then update all of the other students’ computers. We also gave them a USB containing the education software  created by the Honduran government. The younger students had been using Wikipedia extensively and had created reports on the word processing program on everything from African animals to soccer heroes to historical figures from Honduras’  past. This is clearly part of the OLPC vision of decentralizing education and empowering individual creativity. All of the computers were clean and obviously well cared for; some had been personalized with stickers. Students showed us how they had used the XO to create paperless homework assignments in Math, Science and Grammar. The pictures will show the looks of pride and accomplishment in their faces. Unfortunately, they all wanted to tell me of all their discoveries and I couldn’t respond. I could only share their enthusiasm and emotion. We took two flowering shrubs to plant along the path leading to the school. We will continue this in future years, turning the school into a garden spot. Soon after we arrived many of the parents and village elders showed up and the formal speeches began. The school was a dream that had involved the entire community for more than ten years. We felt honored to be part of a dream come true. I’ll end so that we can try to post some photos.With love,Mark

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One thought on “Friday the 13th redux

  1. I like the small diversions. It makes it more personal, more a story, and less just a report on a school. Not that the school report is not nice too.

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