Thursday, November 17, 2011

Florian Secondary School Installation

The day after the Welwel installation (see prior post) the crew moved to Florian Secondary School and did the same thing there. Florian is in Endamariek village which is 20 kilometers from Karatu town. Florian is an O level (Ordinary) and A level (Advanced) high school offering Forms I-VI (grades 8-13).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welwel Secondary School Installation

Below are photos of the Powering Potential solar and computer wireless network installation at Welwel Secondary School (grades 8-11) in Karatu town, Tanzania on November 8. Karatu is the name of the district (population 200,000) and the name of the town which is referred to as Karatu town (population 20,000). 

Graduates of our Technology Tent five-month training course were invited to participate for some hands-on experience. We will hire these graduates for future installations as we expand to other schools.

A solar lesson from the solar fundi in the blue lab coat:
Fundi is a Swahili word for skilled person.

Installing trunks for the DC electrical wires:
Our computers and monitors run on DC not AC, saving about 30% electricity.

Fun on the roof with the solar panels:

Before the installation was even complete, word was out and the Welwel students (in blue sweaters) were in the computer lab using the computers:

As you can see, the first thing they like to do is change the desktop background:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Minister of Education and Vocational Training

Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, called me on November 8th to ask if I could meet with him in Arusha the next day.
We met in the Jakaya Kikwete Presidential Suite at the Kibo Palace Hotel for one hour. He had just come from escorting Prince Charles and Camilla around to schools in Arusha and after our meeting he was returning to bid them adieu at the airport. I felt so honored that he squeezed me in between royalty!

We discussed our programs and I showed him the RACHEL educational content we install on the Powering Potential computers. I played a video for him which explains the balancing of chemical equations. After a minute or so, I made a move to go on to another topic and he stopped me so he could watch more.

When I return to Dar es Salaam at the end of the month, I will meet again with Mr. Ponera (photo below), Director of ICT at the Ministry, to discuss how Powering Potential can best serve the objectives of the Ministry. He is holding the Genesi Smarttop computers we use and on the table is the Smartbook.

This Powering Potential adventure continues to excite and inspire me!


The Technology Tent Graduation Sherehe (Ceremony) on November 4 began with the students demonstrating what they had learned during their five-month course:

In the photo above we are watching students use a nested IF function to calculate grades. (If you know Excel you will know what I mean :)  I was VERY impressed with all that they could do!

Students are seated and standing in the back from left to right are Founding Executive Director of Powering Potential, Karatu District Education Officer, Banjika Headmaster, and Powering Potential's Country Director.

Then we moved to another room for the awarding of the certificates, speeches, and a feast. I got a big applause when I said, "Moyo wangu unaruku kwa furaha." (My heart is jumping with happiness.)

And presentation of gifts to Janice Lathen:
A heart-warming expression of appreciation by Happy Mashinga on behalf of the students
A sweet card
A beautiful piece of fabric
An original song and dance by the students

And below is all that they have learned.

RACHEL is the educational content which we install on the Powering Potential computers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Tanzania Again

Tanzanian State House in Dar es Salaam
Here I am again in Dar es Salaam meeting with government officials at the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Education and the Tanzanian State House (equivalent of the U.S. White House)...that was really cool !

More and more people here are becoming impressed with our work.

Tomorrow morning I will be going to Karatu to attend the graduation of the 23 students who have completed Powering Potential's five-month Technology Tent training course. Four of them will be chosen to become trainers at Welwel and Florian Secondary Schools, a pair at each school.

Next week we will install a solar energy system and five computers each at Welwel and Florian and the trainers will begin teaching what they have learned. Powering Potential will pay their wages for three months and thereafter each school has agreed to continue the employment of one trainer for a year. When the district can assign a degreed computer teacher to the school Powering Potential will return and add 15 computers and the school can then offer Information and Computer Studies courses as part of their curriculum.

I feel so amazed when I think about all that has happened because my heart was deeply touched by the Banjika school students.

A heartfelt appreciation to all of you who have joined me on this exciting journey.