Wow, what an eventful and successful trip.
Morris, Jay and I left Nairobi early on Friday morning and drove two and a half hours to Nakuru. Since we usually make the trip in a matatu (a shared van, the most common type of public transportation in Kenya), the luxury of being in a car was great. The view of the rift valley and the volcano Mt. Longonot was breathtaking as always.
Once in Nakuru we stopped at Solomon’s shop where all of the hardware was getting ready for the school. We were really impressed with the speed that Solomon and his crew got everything together, since we had placed the order less than 12 hours before!
After a quick bite to eat we drove up to the school in Elburgon where we unloaded all of the gear and set up the computers. The students didn’t know what to make of it all, and weren’t really sure where everything had come from, so our first lesson of the day was about crowdfunding, and more about what Tunapanda’s future goals are.
They were a bit skeptical that strangers from all over the globe were willing to help improve their educational opportunities, but we eventually convinced them. We showed them Indigogo, Tunapanda’s website and the TIIT page and gave them a brief overview of WordPress, which is the software that we have been using to design the websites. There was enough interest that next time we will bring up some more in-depth tutorials and give the students the option to study web design and begin making their own websites.
Jay followed it up with a lesson on networking and explained how all of their new computers would be connected and how they could interact with the server.
We had a brief review about what open-source meant, and why it’s important will be an invaluable resource in Tunapanda’s mission, and how the students could use open-source software cheaply. We described the operating system Ubuntu, and told them why we were going to be installing it on all of the computers. We demonstrated the installation process, and then they got into groups and each group installed it onto their own computers.
They started to play around with the Ubuntu interface and programs and within minutes were making spreadsheets and slide shows, having taken very quickly to the new operating system. By the time they went home at the end of the day, the students could have taught US about Ubuntu. Before everyone left, the students all gathered in front of a screen to watch a video that Luca (one of the teachers had made) about his home in the Masai Mara.
On Saturday we woke up and spent a relaxed morning adding some software to the new computers, listening to music and enjoying the serene countryside. Then it was time to play baseball! Morris sets up weekly baseball practice and games for local boys to have something to do on Saturday afternoons. We walked to the baseball diamond, did some warm-up exercises and then played 6 innings. It was a lot of fun. We managed to draw a few spectators (not including the sheep that were taking up one corner of the field) and everyone had a great time. After the game, the kids came back to the school for donuts and juice and then enjoyed watching a nature documentary on the TV that Jay’s former roommate donated to the school. Then back to Nairobi!
Thanks again to all of our donors for making it all possible, and to Morris for hosting us. We can’t wait to get up there again.