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Waveplace Blog : Location - Haiti

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T-7 .. Inequity   Wed, 19-Jan-2011 (teefal)

Today started with a trip to my daughter's Quaker school, where my wife and I sat with a half-dozen other preschool parents watching a Kindergarten class in action. We were all there to become convinced that private Kindergarten was really worth the extra money over public Kindergarten. Two of the boys in the class were Haitian, apparently adopted at an early age. Watching them and the rest of the kids interact with their wonderful teacher, playing writing games and dancing in movement class, I was swamped with an unexpected sorrow. These children were free to be themselves, encouraged to speak...


T-8 .. Press Release   Tue, 18-Jan-2011 (teefal)

Waveplace Starting Five New OLPC Laptop Projects in Port-Au-Prince With "Camp Penn" (JP/HRO) and Other Groups Port-au-Prince, Haiti Following the success of their seven OLPC ("One Laptop Per Child") projects last year, Waveplace Foundation is returning to Haiti to start five new laptop projects in the Port-Au-Prince region. This time, Waveplace is partnering with J/P HRO (tent camp founded by Sean Penn), Restavek Freedom (advocates for Haitian slave children), AMURT (working in tent camps and schools), and Haiti Partners (teachers of civic empowerment). The overall purpose of these laptop projects is to help solve Haiti's long-term difficulties by teaching problem...


T-9 .. Return of the Dictator   Mon, 17-Jan-2011 (teefal)

This morning I was all set to write something meaningful about Martin Luther King, but as I checked my Twitter feed, found out that Baby Doc Duvalier returned to Haiti last night after 25 years in exile. As Beth said, this sounds like a new wrinkle in a bad Hollywood movie. Just as we're waiting for Preval's pronouncement, as Haiti holds its breath in hopes of democratic resolve, the very embodiment of the old way returns to "help his country." Now the buzz is all about him, which of course serves to distract from Preval's delayed announcement. Instead of adding...


T-11 .. Haiti Laptop Plan   Sun, 16-Jan-2011 (teefal)

The third big document we produced last December was our "Haiti Laptop Plan," written with Haiti Partners, which essentially describes our hopes for 2011 in Haiti. Put simply, we're pursuing a bottom-up approach. Waveplace sees itself as the Johnny Appleseed of laptop goodness, starting successful pilots around Haiti to serve as hubs for further expansion. Here's the first section of the plan: === SUMMARY Haiti Partners and Waveplace Foundation propose the following for the distribution of laptops to 30 locations in Haiti in 2011, partnering with 16 organizations. Building upon our successful work in 2010 in four locations, we plan...


T-12 .. Gunfire and Traffic   Sat, 15-Jan-2011 (teefal)

Yesterday morning, someone on Twitter made a comment that in Haiti they mention gunfire in the traffic reports, where in other places they usually write about it separately. Other tweets mentioned barricades and burning tires. I'd expected some protesting today given Preval's delay in responding to the OAS report, though wasn't sure how far it'd go. Last night I found an article in the Canadian Press that mentioned a protester had been shot and killed by the police. Apparently there'd been an exchange of gunfire, likely prompting the mention in the traffic report. Writing this now, I'm a bit floored...


T-13 .. Pilot Plan   Fri, 14-Jan-2011 (teefal)

The next big document we created in November was our Pilot Plan, which breaks down into three sections: Details, Schedule, and Budget. While the Partner Accord is an ongoing agreement, the Pilot Plan is specific to one pilot. Meant to clarify expectations further, each Pilot Plan can be changed easily without signatures. Here's the schedule for one of our upcoming pilots. It takes a great deal of talk between five different organizations to get things so simple. • Thu Jan 27th .. US-based Waveplace team flies in • Fri Jan 28th .. 3pm to 5pm .. mentor class #1 at...


T-14 .. Partner Accord   Thu, 13-Jan-2011 (teefal)

Since my trip to Haiti in November, Waveplace has been very busy. First finishing the Haiti Spring 2010 video, then lining up the new Haiti pilots, then writing and rewriting our budgets (which took a surprisingly long time), and lastly writing three non-trivial documents: our Partner Accord, our Pilot Plan, and our Haiti Laptop Plan. The Partner Accord is an informal signed agreement between Waveplace and each individual partner organization. In the past, we've conveyed expectations informally, through email bullet lists and on the phone. Needless to say, some things got forgotten, which inevitably led to problems at pilot time....


T-15 .. 47 Seconds   Wed, 12-Jan-2011 (teefal)

"My house has no roof and it is raining in my eyes." - Rilke Out my window, the world is fresh and clean with new fallen snow. Covered now, the hills and trees. Silent now, with no movement at all. A perfect morning to mourn, to listen to Bach's Art of Fugue and think of Haiti. My first thought was of New York City after a snowfall, how eerily clean the streets felt, how unlike the usual clamor and grime of city life. I then imagined Port Au Prince under fresh fallen snow. Gone for a moment: the curbside garbage,...


T-16 .. Two Weeks, Two Days   Tue, 11-Jan-2011 (teefal)

With flights just bought, we're off to Haiti once again. In two weeks, two days, we'll spend two weeks, two days, starting new pilots: two in Cite Soleil, two in tent camps, one with a youth choir, all of them exciting. As usual, there's a half dozen snags. We don't yet have the laptops out of customs, which makes me nervous as hell, though our chief partner said, "It'll be fine, book your flights", so we did. Even if we get the laptops out of customs, we won't know how many of them work until just before the pilots. Even...


Haiti Spring 2010 Video   Tue, 14-Dec-2010 (teefal)

At long last, here's our video that tells the story of our 7 pilots last Spring. Once again, thanks go to William Stelzer for doing such an incredible job....


Haiti November Photos   Sun, 12-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Finally got around to picking the best of the many hundreds of photos I shot while down in Haiti last month. Here's a slideshow. Click the four corner arrows in the lower right to watch it fullscreen....


Haiti Trip Postponed   Sat, 11-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday we had a Skype conference with three of the four partners due to start Waveplace pilots in January. Collectively we decided to push the dates back three weeks to give us a safe distance from the January 16th runoff election. Sarita from AMURT says that the last week have been very bad in her neighborhood, which is where the workshop would be taking place. Many of the protesters are located around her. There is constant shouting, singing, some gunfire, etc. I'll resume the countdown, and daily posts, when we're a month out from the trip. Currently it looks like...


T-31 .. School Costs in Haiti   Wed, 8-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Responses keep coming to A School Is Not A Building. Even made the home page of OLPC News, with comments as well. I was talking yesterday with a woman down in Haiti, with considerable experience helping education down there. She's been reading the responses and said, "Do the people responding have any idea what it's like in Haiti?" The answer is "Not really," but that's not anyone's fault. It's our job to make the picture clearer, to provide context enough to cross the culture shock. So in this post, I'll address the realities of building schools in Haiti. But first,...


T-32 .. Election Results   Tue, 7-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Listening tonight to a Haitian radio station and watching the #haiti #election tweets flow by was a bit surreal. Anticipation was very high. Spoke with both Benaja and John Engle tonight as well. We're on with the Cité Soleil pilot ... power, food, schedule all okay. Benaja will even have time for us, which is great news. Given that we'll be doing our workshop during the runoff election, I was worried that Celestin, the Préval successor, would make the cut. Riots have been a daily event this last week. He's a very unpopular candidate. Tear gas has been used to...


T-33 .. Micro Schools   Mon, 6-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday's post, prompted a good amount of discussion on various mailing lists, so today I'll follow up with some specific ideas. First though understand that it's not my intention to say that schools serve no purpose, that they have no value. Quite the contrary. My visits to twenty schools in Haiti last month, several of them built after the earthquake, left me impressed and full of hope for the children and teachers I met. My purpose in these posts is merely to suggest a less expensive alternative for a country with a greater need than current funds or capacity are...


T-34 .. A School Is Not A Building   Sun, 5-Dec-2010 (teefal)

A school is not a building; it's a place where learning occurs. Reading "Three Cups of Tea" with tales of new bridges to carry wood and concrete, I'm left thinking, "Why so much cost, so much labor, merely to erect walls and roofs where children can meet?" Once built, the work has just begun. Hundreds must travel daily to meet in too-large groups, to hear teachers speak *at* them, to take turns scrawling on chalkboards and precious paper. Of what benefit is this central meeting place to merit such a cost? Imagine a world where cooking never happened at home....


T-35 .. The Waveplace Plan   Sat, 4-Dec-2010 (teefal)

We're nearly done with our new Waveplace Accord, which details the roles and responsibilities of Waveplace and our partners. First though, we need to outline what we aim to do together. Here's the text from our accord called "The Waveplace Plan". This is a pretty good summary of the parameters we've tweaked throughout our 18 pilots. It took a while to get these right. Each Waveplace class consists of five mentors and 20 children between the ages of seven and eleven. Classes are usually held after school for 90 minutes each day.Each child and mentor receives for their personal use...


T-36 .. Remix the World   Fri, 3-Dec-2010 (teefal)

More work today on proposals and budgets. Trying yet again to slim down my rap, the endless conversation, the Why of Waveplace. Today I told Beth, "The most important tool in writing is the delete key." Someday I'll be happy with it. Here's a great TED talk that covers many points. If you substitute "math" for "creative problem solving", you're pretty much there. I particularly like his highlighting of programming as a benefit in itself. Also great is the end, where he refers to the new subject, as yet unnamed, that should be the center of it. During lunch I...


T-37 .. Whittling it Down   Thu, 2-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Talked with another partner today and learned that the teachers they wish to train teach until 1pm and then go directly to university classes. The only option is teaching another workshop class at their location at 7am, followed by a children's class at 8am, which at this point would mean we'd have FIVE classes a day for two weeks. Too much. So we talked it out and decided it might be better to push their pilot to February since there are other partners near them we could combine them with then. This makes perfect sense, and it helps take the...


T-38 .. Waveplace Partner on Today Show   Wed, 1-Dec-2010 (teefal)

Once in a while, I look up from our Waveplace work and feel a little starstruck. Today I spent time on the phone planning January's pilot at JP/HRO, the Sean Penn relief organization. Last night I was watching a movie with Maria Bello, wife of the man I met from future Waveplace partner Artists for Peace and Justice. Last week I was flipping through People magazine and saw photos of Maria and Patricia Arquette, patron of future Waveplace partner, MMRC. Today I was researching possible partner Richard A. Morse and discovered that his band had a song in the movie...


T-39 .. Running the Numbers   Tue, 30-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Logistics have a magic when you've acquired an intuitive sense for numbers and constraints. Most of yesterday was spent on the phone with Beth, talking out the various spreadsheets and plans we've got going. My own number goals are somewhat exacting: covers all constraints, easy to remember, easy to combine and adjust in my head, feels fair and affordable. Finding workable numbers is a real skill which is surprisingly similar to my chief talent: designing software. Lots of conflicting constraints, lots of stuff to keep in mind at once, lots of interdependencies ... all boiled down into something simple and...


T-40 .. Countdown to January   Mon, 29-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Back to daily blogging, as we're 40 days away from another trip to Haiti on January 8th. Our next workshop is scheduled for January 10th to January 21st, with the first pilot starting on the 10th and going until February 18th and the others starting January 24th and going until March 4th. At this point, we're working with Haiti Partners, AMURT, JP/HRO, Restavek Freedom, One-By-One Leadership, and Wozo Youth Choir. Spent the morning reading news of yesterday's election in Haiti. Most of the candidates held a press conference alleging fraud by Preval's party, asking for the results to be thrown...


Our next Haiti workshop   Fri, 19-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Had a great phone conference yesterday with Sarita from AMURT about hosting our next Waveplace training workshop next month. Turns out their location couldn't be better for the pilots we want to hold in Port-au-Prince. Their AMSAI school is literally in the middle of everything, just ten or fifteen minutes from all sites. I asked her about current tensions over the UN protests. She said there was definitely a different vibe in the capital, though for those that have been through other events, this episode wasn't particularly troubling. Hours after our talk I got word about the protests near her....


How to choose?   Thu, 18-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Now with a few days to rest and tend to homefront fires, I'm ready to turn two weeks of talk into a plan for sustained action. Eighteen organizations are interested. Now it's time to choose which to focus on first and how exactly to proceed. I've decided to keep up the daily blog, given the tremendous feedback I keep getting. Thanks to everyone who has retweeted and emailed. It helps to know you're out there. It's an odd kind of community we've got, but it's almost as real as if we were sitting in a circle helping each other. SO!...


Sustainable means money   Tue, 16-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Sitting at a Starbucks with my XO 1.5 in Gnome mode. This is quite the little portable machine now that I can use the adult software too. I'm watching the stream of Pennsylania caffeine addicts plunk down their $1.50+ for their morning fix, while listening to smooth sounds from Frankie and friends. People are talking about family visits and minor car damage. There's a stranger-ness to the awkward smiles and hellos between us. We're behind bubbles even when we talk. Adam's mom wrote me an email about my blog. She called this "culture shock," relating my re-entry observations to her...


What We Learned in Haiti   Mon, 15-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Re-reading from the start of these posts, here's a quick summary of things I learned during the last trip. * If you can speak French, you're fine on the Haiti mainland. It was absolutely no problem traveling with Adam translating. There were times when Adam translated for Michena and then Michena translated in Creole, but all in all, there's always someone around that can understand French. * Bottled water is abundant. I never had to use my water purifier, which I am hoping to return to LL Bean for a full refund. * Suits are unnecessary, laundry is easy, though...


D14 .. Cause for Complaint   Sun, 14-Nov-2010 (teefal)

I woke early in my airport hotel bed, then went looking for coffee. Two women were sleeping in chairs near the elevator on my floor, as were many people downstairs in the lobby adjoining the airport concourse. I later learned the airport had sold out, so these thirty or so people were making do with an uncomfortable night. After a trip to Starbucks across the way, I settling in to a free lobby chair to drink coffee and play with my well-traveled XO. The women who were sleeping on my floor sat across from me. One of them said, "Did...


D13 .. 18 Meets, 20 Schools   Sat, 13-Nov-2010 (teefal)

As I type this, I'm sitting on a plane at Miami Airport, waiting to fly north and home. Last night I had my first hot shower in a while, my first flush toilet, my first guiltless power-up for all my devices. Yesterday started with goodbyes at John's house. John, Merline, Layla, Daniel, and Alex were truly a home away from home these past eight days. Saying goodbye was bittersweet, with promises to soon return. I then met Hannah for a meet with Valerie of World Vision, which went very well. There is a strong possibiity for a year long grant...


D12 .. Big Thursday   Fri, 12-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Started down the hill yesterday for my meet with JP/HRO, the Sean Penn Camp, with calls aplenty trying to coordinate the day. Note to self ... don't talk on a cell phone while you're navigating through the Petìtionville market during rush hour. Found my way to the Petionville Golf Club, which has been turned into a camp, and had a great meeting with Lisa and Shannon from JP/HRO. Things look good for a December pilot. Peter from Haiti Partners joined me at the club, then we drove up and up and up to Save the Children for a meet with...


D11 .. Restavec Roundabout   Thu, 11-Nov-2010 (teefal)

I will never complain about traffic in the States again. Yesterday was one standstill spot after another as I toured five schools with Djougine from Restavec Freedom. This wonderful group works with very poor children who have been given to wealthier Haitian families, where they are essentially treated as slaves without education, free time, or much food. First along the infamous traffic on Rue Frere to the Restavec headquarters... Then across to Route 9 for a visit to a primary school with many restavec children that Restavec Freedom has convinced families to allow to attend school. I presented the laptop...


D10 .. Solo Tim   Wed, 10-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Said goodbye to Bonnie early yesterday morning, which left me with no companions to accompany me through Port-au-Prince. After a quick breakfast, I headed down the mountain towards the US Embassy. I went into the Daily Cafe for water and Coke, then followed my directions to the Tabarre School, which was quite nearby. There I met Gladys, who was very welcoming and gracious. She introduced me to the Bishop and I demonstrated the laptop and Etoys. I've become so accustomed to my demonstrations that I fear I'm being too automatic, though from people's responses, this doesn't seem to be the...


D9 .. Cite Soleil and Back   Tue, 9-Nov-2010 (teefal)

We drove two cars down the mountain to meet at Phillippe Armand's office complex to borrow his parking so we could meet with the Blue Tarp Group. We started with a quick greeting in a posh conference room, which given our next destination was quite the contrast. We all crammed into two cars for the drive into Cite Soleil. I've seen pictures and heard much about this "worst slum in the western hemisphere," but had never been here, so was bracing for the worst. As we drove in and around, I realized that it didn't seem much worse than pretty...


D8 .. Rest   Tue, 9-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Sunday was a rest day, for the most part. We started with a phone conference with our good friend Mike Dawson in Afghanistan. Having a meet between Haiti and Afghanistan felt pretty cool, as did his emphasis on cost effectiveness and assessment. Adam, John, Bonnie, and myself had a good talk about both of these subjects before breakfast. I drove Michena to the bus station in Port-au-Prince with Alex, Merline's brother. He showed me some landmarks in preparation for my solo trips this week. Port-au-Prince is a real maze, though I guess like anywhere, it's understandable after a bit. To...


D7 .. Schools, Lunch, Land   Sun, 7-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Saturday began with a beautiful view from our mountainside perch. The rain was gone and Port-au-Prince looked beautiful. Adam mentioned over breakfast that he'd like to meet with a gentlemen from Artists for Peace and Justice who was interested in buying some XOs. John, Adam and I picked up Benaja and headed to the US Embassy to meet Bryn at the Daily Cafe, an American restaurant that clearly catered to the many organizations that surrounded the embassy. It felt surreal to walk into this cafe, as it was very much like home. The market across the lot was also very...


D6 .. Hurricane Day   Sat, 6-Nov-2010 (teefal)

With rain through the night and most of the morning, we were braced for the worst as we looked down the mountain to the tent cities of Port-au-Prince. Watching the weather forecast, we were surprised to see the bulk of the storm had already passed before noon, which was much sooner than expected. After another wonderful meal by Merline, we headed out to see if there was an flooding down the hill. Here is an overflowing stream that is normally just a trickle: Driving around the capital, things seemed relatively quiet and calm. Most things had been closed in preparation...


D5 .. Mountains to Jacmel   Fri, 5-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday started with much discussion about the mountain road to Jacmel and whether estranger could drive it safely. After a while, Abelard offered to drive us, which made me feel much more comfortable, as he has driven the road many times. The hour long trip was one switchback after another, and another, and another, through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. In Haiti, there are truly dèyè mòn genyen mòn (beyond mountains there are mountains). After some tricky moments at the highest elevation when we passed into a very thick cloud (where I closed my eyes...


D3 .. Songs and Sights on Rt 2   Wed, 3-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday we started with breakfast at Manalo's Inn while I blogged, then picked up Michena for our bumpy journey along Route 2 to Léogâne/Darbonne. Our first stop was in Miragoâne to meet with Father Grandjean from the Petite Rivière school. We were surprised when we arrived to see his new school, with an audience already assembled to hear about our program. They even sang for us as we arrived. The group was very impressed with the laptop and with our vision for education. Father Grandjean seems like a great partner for both Petite Rivière and Miragoâne. I was very happy...


D2 .. Petite Rivière   Tue, 2-Nov-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday was a full, full day. Starting with breakfast and Internet at Manalo's Inn with their wonderful view, then "We absolutely cannot be late" and we were off to College Saint Antoine de Padoue, the site of our 2009 pilot and two of our pilots last Spring. We arrived just before Michena, at "8 am sharp." We started by getting the kids together for a photograph. I had them raising their XOs in the air and saying "Squeak .. Etoys" and swaying. As it was a school holiday, we have trouble getting electricity. We bought some gasoline across the street...


D1 .. New Traffic Patterns   Sun, 31-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Typing now from Manalo's Inn in Petite Rivière De Nippes on the northern end of the southern peninsula. Tonight we met with most of the ten mentors and about a dozen of the children. Before that Adam and I braved our way through Port Au Prince, Carrefour, Petite Goave, and Mirogoane in our rented Mazda pickup truck. Let me just say that actually driving myself through Port-Au-Prince is a completely different experience. It's a real trip navigating through a chaotic stream of pedestrians, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and animals. Not hard, actually, but very different. There's a comfortable calamity to the...


T-1 .. Why On Earth?   Sat, 30-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Sitting in Newark Airport, waiting to board my flight to Miami, watching the hundred or so strangers also waiting, I'm pensive and patient and getting philosophical. With years now to this effort, with tens of thousands of dollars invested that will not go to my daughter, with my wife's clingy kisses this morning, and my tired sore limbs that need rest . . . Why On Earth am I doing this? Why am I flying to Haiti when I could much more easily train teachers in my local elementary school? Are these people around me less worthy than Haitians? What...


T-2 .. Ready to Go   Fri, 29-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Materials arrayed at my feet, awaiting my carry-on packs, ready to leave tomorrow at noon. There's a calm that comes when you see the time when decisions are over. When I get on that bus, I'll have everything I'll have, and no more. This morning started with a terrific call with the head of school at JP/HRO, the Sean Penn camp outside Pétionville. Lisa sounds very interesting in having a pilot there. Talked details with Beth and Adam. We're pretty amazed that we've arranged as much as we have in so little time. Eleven organizations want to hear more, with...


T-3 .. Scramble and Safety   Thu, 28-Oct-2010 (teefal)

We've passed the point where planning means much. From here on, it's pure scramble: what do I absolutely need before I leave? This morning I tested the new XO build on both my XO 1.5 and the older XO 1.0. I'll be upgrading 50+ laptops and reflashing 100 more, so it helps to have it down now. Troubleshooting becomes much more difficult in the field. I'll also need to debrick a portion of the laptops. I've got a debricker cable and will try on one bricked donated machine tonight to remind myself of the process. Beth sent new mentor certificates...


T-4 .. Rest   Wed, 27-Oct-2010 (teefal)

After nonstop San Francisco and homestead catchup and Haiti trip prep, my body's crying out for some serious rest. Intended to take the day off today, but got called into a meeting anyway. I just now glanced at Twitter to see the ebb and flow of #cholera tweets and other details. Earlier went to LL Bean to pick up a $90 water purifier and some camping stuff, then CVS for mini-toiletries. I guess there's no day off between two big trips. The toughest part is pushing through when there's nothing left in the tank. I had a day in SF...


T-5 .. Remaining Details   Tue, 26-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Oh, yes, right . . . I'm going to Haiti in five days. Details for the trip were essentially sidetracked in San Francisco. This morning we confront all that's still not settled. * water purifier .. Bill left it home, so I'll have to get another, or pills * malaria pills .. I have some left over, but I'll need about 14 more (and they're expensive, at least the last minute ones) * laptops .. I had hoped to hand out some XOs to potential new partners, but I left the five I was going to bring in SF at...


T-6 .. OLPC Summit, day 2   Mon, 25-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Flying east after five exciting days, I'm at a lost to sum things up, likely because I'm exhausted beyond words. Saturday night I went to sleep at 8pm and woke at 3am. I was then up for 22 hours straight, slept three hours, and am still up. My favorite part of yesterday was the "service with high school & college" session where I finally got to see Beth and Christine present, along with the gentlemen from Upper Canada College and RIT. Later I lunched with the UCC folks and Christine. Something's brewing with regards to North American students, not sure...


T-7 .. OLPC Summit, day 1   Sun, 24-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday was quite something. Each session at the OLPC San Francisco Community Summit seemed custom-fit to our current needs: first, solar power and storage solutions in *Haiti*; then research brainstorming focusing on *Jamaica*; and finally peer-to-peer learning in *Nicaragua*. Midway through I had great talks with Barbara Berry, Jennifer Martino, Morgan Ames, and many others. We even did fifteen minutes of whiteboard brainstorming about Sugar Journal instrumentation and a replicated question-map network (more on this later). As for Haiti, I'm loving the new trending topic, which is #cholera. Had a talk with my wife yesterday about it. She's worried of...


T-8 .. Getting Around   Sat, 23-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Great reception at the OLPC-SF Community Summit last night. Everyone I shook hands with seemed serendipitously placed in my path to help Haiti. One man's brother worked at the UN in Haiti. Another was involved with the OLPC large scale deployment in Haiti. Mary Lou Jepsen knew a minister in the government. One group is working on alternative energy solutions with XOs. Etc, etc. Amidst the flurry of activity here in California, the big questions remain regarding my trip in nine days. I've written about Lodging, Clothing, Food, and Water. Still in the air are the moving logistics: Transportation, Translation,...


T-9 .. Relativity   Fri, 22-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Around you now, at a cafe, on the street, in the next apartment, there's a person sighing deeply, bracing for the day. Not so much the tasks that weigh heavy, but what we make of them: our attitudes, our expectations. We think the worst not because we want, but because it's happened before, and it hurts less than hope. And it's all the same between us. The twenty-something sighing because she lost her iPhone charger is no less worthy of compassion than the father worried about his children. Our struggles are relative to whom we've become. The yardstick we imagine...


T-10 .. Golden Gate Goals   Thu, 21-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Riding a bus to the "Books in Browsers" event. Spent the day in San Fransisco with Beth and three other OLPC Community folks, Pablo Flores (Uruguay) and Tabitha Roder (New Zealand). Beth and I are staying at the Fort Mason Hostel with wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We drove across it yesterday to get a better view, then found the Trieste Cafe where jazz drove the conversation. Following yesterday's general goals, today I'll discuss specific goals for our Haiti efforts in the near term. Currently we have four active pilots in Haiti with four dormant ones that can...


T-11 .. Flag in the Distance   Wed, 20-Oct-2010 (teefal)

I'm riding on my way to Newark Airport, where I'll fly to San Francisco for the OLPC Community Summit. As usual, my brain's a blur with Haiti details. Rather than more logistics today, I'll instead write about goals. With all the talk that swirls around, with the unending stream of to-dos and people scolding us for lateness and lameness, it's very easy to fall into the trap of just reacting all the time, losing sight of the big picture. So let's plant a flag out in the distance to remind us why we're here and where to go. Put simply:...


T-12 .. The Little Things   Tue, 19-Oct-2010 (teefal)

Coming back from Haiti the last time, I walked through Boston airport, the subway, our rent-a-home, in an extended sort of trance. I was distracted, embarrassed, and thankful for the myriad little things around me: running water, flush toilets, showers, streetlights, clean. The "necessaries" remaining on my list were abundant: Power, Transport, Communications, and Safety. My trance lasted for weeks. Flick a switch, a light goes on. Take out your mobile, there's a strong signal and the calls are pretty much free. Make a mess and the faucet comes on. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't suffer for the...


T-13 .. Shifting Details   Mon, 18-Oct-2010 (teefal)

From the moment of purchase of non-refundable plane tickets to the welcome collapse on the couch back home, Haiti is a study in shifting details, particularly this trip, as we've had very little time to prepare. So let's start with the "necessaries of life", as Thoreau called them: Shelter, Food, Clothing, Fuel. Given the nature of our trip, I'll add: Safety, Transport, Translation, and Communications. Since Haiti is a warm climate, I'll change "Fuel" to "Power". Shelter: I've got the second week covered, as I'm staying at John Engle's. This leaves shelter for the first week. Two nights in Petite...


T-14 .. Ten Ten Twelve   Sun, 17-Oct-2010 (teefal)

It's 4am. My body's as lethargic as a sacked-out 2 year old. I'm trying to go back to sleep, but my brain's a mile a minute with Haiti details. Must be pilot time. I leave for my Haiti reconnaissance trip in two weeks. Ten schools and ten organizations in twelve days. One hundred XO laptops, courtesy of OLPC, are now sitting in customs. We'll be reflashing and fixing them midway through my trip, and handing them out to schools near Pétionville soon after, in preparation for more formal pilots in December. Adam Holt from OLPC will accompany me for the...


How far does $330 go?   Mon, 4-Oct-2010 (beth)

Recently, one of our mentors, Joseph, asked Waveplace for $330 USD on behalf of the Léogâne mentors. They want to run a three-day workshop from October 7-9 to refresh their knowledge about Etoys. Joseph and the other Léogâne mentors have been working for an hour per day on a volunteer basis (ie, no pay, completely on their own caliber) in order to keep their students learning on their XO laptops. They recently requested to have mentor t-shirts, and we are proud to announce that Red Fish Blue Fish Dye Works in Somersworth, NH has generously donated their time to create...


A Note from Zo   Mon, 27-Sep-2010 (beth)

We received a report from Joseph, one of our Darbonne mentors, today. As some know, our ten Darbonne mentors have chosen, on their own accord, to continue teaching their students for one hour per day, despite the fact that no one has found the funds to pay them yet. Marie Flore and Nahomie have been working with their own team of ten students on the other side of the river, since flooding these months makes it difficult to ford it. The other eight mentors have been working with the remaining 30 students in town. Here is what Joseph wrote to...


Petite Riviere Pilot Continues for Another Five Months   Tue, 7-Sep-2010 (beth)

Great news!! Our pilot in Petite Riviere des Nippes has gained enough funding to continue for five more months to come. "The laptop program Waveplace has put together has had a very positive effect on the mentors as well as the students involved with the pilot program in Petite Riviere Di Nippes, Haiti," said Jack Davidson, the director of the American Haitian Foundation, our partner organization in Petite Riviere. "The children enrolled in the program are out performing their peers in all subjects. This year during registration many parents have asked how they could get their children involved with the...


Darbonne Pilot Video   Fri, 27-Aug-2010 (beth)

Here's a great video posted by John Engle of Haiti Partners showing some of our Darbonne students in action back in May. A quick note that Waveplace did not *create* Etoys, but we do make training materials for it....


Day 42) Leaving Haiti   Wed, 5-May-2010 (beth)

(about Sunday) The blue wooden sailboat rocks up and down, side to side. I desperately try to keep my stomach from flying out of my mouth. I look over at Bill and Chris and they are motionless (but I later learn that they are pretty much thinking the exact same thing as me). We woke up at three in the morning to leave Matènwa and make it to the 6am boat ride to Port-au-Prince. Bill and I rode in the back of a big pick-up truck filled with luggage. We laid all the luggage down in a cozy arrangement and...


Day 41) last afternoon   Wed, 5-May-2010 (beth)

(about Saturday) My last afternoon sitting in the library at the Matènwa Community Learning Center. It's funny how things change; how things are the same. I'm still sitting in the same library. The weather is the same. The people around me are all the same people. Nothing has changed. And yet, everything has changed. For one thing, my hair is braided. I'm a little bit more tan, a little bit more “Haitian”. Now when people talk about me I have a pretty good grasp on what they're saying (even if they don't know it yet). At this point, I'm quite...


Day 40) mentors, mice, and realness   Sat, 1-May-2010 (beth)

(about Friday) Today was mainly ups; a few downs. It's hard to say much in the last few days. You just try to watch it all pass, and erase any mistakes that you know you can change permanently. Everything else you just cross your fingers that it works out right. Today the mentors stopped class early because they didn't understand a part of Lesson 7. We were confused because it seems like they just stopped class without even really asking Bill or myself for help. They asked Benaja, and Benaja explained, but they decided to stop class anyway, apparently because...


Day 39) making rules   Sat, 1-May-2010 (beth)

(about Thursday) The students put their computers down and gather around in a circle. They are interspersed among teachers. One of the mentors speaks up. “We're going to talk today about responsibility. What kinds of responsibilities do you students have with this laptop?” The students put their hands up. To take care of them, to not give them to babies, to not break them. The usual. “And what kinds of things can we do with the computers?” Play games, play with Etoys, go on the internet. “And what kinds of things do we do on the internet?” Do research, watch...


Day 38) Matènwa again   Sat, 1-May-2010 (beth)

(about Wednesday) Had a very successful meeting with our Matènwa mentors today, even though Bill and I were about ready to keel over in tiredness after a lot of travel. Normally, we're not so tired, but I think the five past weeks are really starting to affect us! Things that we talked about at Matènwa: -The PORN ISSUE. Kids are using the internet to look for dirty pictures. We talked about putting a password on the internet because all those XOs hooked up is slowing down Chris' connection at Matènwa anyway, but I wanted to put a rule down regardless...


Day 37) day in darbonne   Sat, 1-May-2010 (beth)

(about Tuesday) Coming soon ... lost in the mail :)...


Day 36) another good day   Sat, 1-May-2010 (beth)

(about Monday) Today was certainly a successful day. Since we were cutting short our Williamson visit in order to get to a meeting with Dale and Michel of MIT/OLPC in Petionville, today was our last day of class and it was a little heartbreaking because, not only did I not want to leave the most adorable kids in the world, but I also just didn't feel like we had enough time to teach anything of substance. But Bill had a great idea, and that was to divide the class between students that had taken the XO training last year and...


Day 35) The Seven Elements of Success   Mon, 26-Apr-2010 (beth)

Today has been a big puddle of stress. The kids need more attention than Bill and I can offer them. On top of this, an important OLPC meeting has come up tomorrow so we're leaving Williamson early. In evaluating our projects so far, Bill and I have come up with the Seven Elements of Success in an OLPC/Waveplace project. Each element is absolutely essential. Without any one of them, an initiative cannot be successful. We thought we would make this list so that we can better prepare ourselves in the future for more successful pilots. Due to the particular situation...


Day 34) The kids are SO smart   Sun, 25-Apr-2010 (beth)

One of our students (I don't know his name yet) is missing a part of both of his wrists so his hand are curved inward. His thumb curls below his hand. Besides this, he is a perfectly normal kid who has completely overcome his disability. He's good natured and I don't think the kids around him even realize that he had difficulty sometimes using his hands. We watch him struggle for hours with the trackpad on his XO. I'm not even sure what to say to him because I'm honestly just holding my breath for the trackpad to keep WORKING....


Day 33) "To them, you are a mother."   Sun, 25-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Saturday) Eddy tugs my hand and looks at me with that goofy smile of his. I still don't know what his eyes look like because he is wearing a pair of enormous black sunglasses. He has on a yellow shirt and red shorts with a Hawaiian print. Those shorts, they give his personality away in a second. Charmingly awkward, friendly, low-maintenance. He smiles at me and he never speaks, but that smile, it speaks volumes. I hold out my fist. He bumps it with his own. He looks at me with those enormous sunglasses. Then he slowly walks away,...


Day 31) more than anything   Sun, 25-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Thursday) We call ourselves the Green and White Berets: Bill, Beth and Benaja. Bill calls us the “B Team”-- a compilation of our three B names and also what you get when you can't afford the A team. Together, we make things work. We are the OLPC/Haiti special forces. And we're here to get the job done. Our mentors in Petite Riviere des Nippes feel the same way. Our last day here went very similarly to the way our last day in Darbonne went. We did little to disrupt class and let the mentors hold their before and after...


Day 30) lean into the wind   Sun, 25-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Wednesday) There's a breeze settling in on the ocean. I scan my eyes over the horizon- nothing, nothing, nothing but water and sky, nothing...then, a tiny sailboat in the far-off distance. Imagine the horizon is the peace that I want to maintain today in this blog post, and that the sailboat is the very small detail that I am going to write about- just enough to not disturb what is around it. Today has been quite the day and I am not about to even remotely disrupt the perfection that we seemed to have reached. The mentors showed up...


Day 29) Then, magic happened   Sun, 25-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Tuesday) It's 12:15- time for our mentor meeting- and there are only six out of ten mentors here. I pace back and forth. Today is the most important day of our visit so far. In trying to make peace with the principal at our school in Petite Riviere des Nippes, we had invited him to come and watch class today, then sit with us for a few minutes as we go through our mentor breakdown meeting. We would welcome his questions and comments, and simultaneously try to show him that he can trust us to make this program run...


Day 27) Burnt   Mon, 19-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Sunday) My body is burning. It may be from the boat ride in Antoine and Emmanuel's motorboat, followed by a solid two or three hour lay in the midday Haitian sun. What can I say, I'm 24 years old. I'm not supposed to be reasonable yet. Highlights include more saltwater in our faces than we had really bargained for, the stereo that Antoine broke out once we hit land, watching Michena dance with two sticks as if she were playing the drums, and, of course, the sand toilet that we all made (complete with water in the bowl and...


Day 26) Guidance   Mon, 19-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Sunday) With a stomach full of delicious Haitian coffee, I turned around under the dome of Manilow's inn and saw Antoine waiting for me. He grinned his big toothy grin and waved as he sat by the inn's fountain. It's Saturday, which means market day. Despite the fact that Bill, Benaja and I have all tried to explain to Antoine that I am happily in another relationship, Antoine doesn't seem to get it. So we have a date today to go to the market and I can't refuse because he didn't really even ask me if I wanted to...


Day 25) Getting Stronger   Mon, 19-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Friday) Each day the program at Petite Riviere is getting stronger, and I know the mentors feel it too. After a successful tanning day and a difficult but enjoyable conversation with some Red Cross volunteers, I headed to school with Bill and Benaja in time for our 12:15 mentor planning meeting. The planning meeting was a little less organized than we'd hoped. The mentors kept going into the students' classroom because a lot of the students were already there. They seemed more interested in sitting with the students than in planning, but eventually we got them all to sit...


Day 24) Petite Riviere des Nippes   Mon, 19-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Thursday) Sitting at Manilow's Inn in Petite Riviere des Nippes, watching the sun as it sets over the ocean. Just got out of taking a hot shower in my hotel room and eating a delicious meal of conch with Bill and Benaja. Feeling a little bit like a queen right now! We got to Petite Riviere at about 9:30 this morning and headed right into the school. I stupidly forgot a whole bunch of chargers in Darbonne- that's the main problem right now, though we have enough chargers to last us if we use the chargers that were already...


Day 23) Flying Colors   Mon, 19-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Wednesday) Getting up early in the morning, repainting John Engle's daughter, Layla's, nails after she lost almost all the color after only one week, driving through the city for hours while trying to not show up to class too late with computers in hand. And class went great! Bill, Benaja and I tried our best to do as little as possible. It's entirely possible that we were lazy and that's the reason. But we also wanted to see the mentors do what they do best all by themselves. We were thoroughly impressed with their work and everything went really...


Day 22) More Valuable Than Anything   Fri, 16-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Tuesday) We've been so swamped the past couple of days that I haven't even had a chance to jump on my computer to work. Yesterday's class was GREAT! Benaja had to email a translation so we started class without him. I successfully instructed mentors and students in Creole and they really took over like pros. We are so proud of them. Lionel, one of our group leaders, told us he would be late to class but ended up arriving AFTER class. It frustrated us. He's doing a great job as a teacher but he's not the strongest group leader....


Day 20) Church   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Sunday) Well, here we were again, standing up in front of a crowd. At this point Bill and I have gotten pretty used to introducing ourselves in front of large groups of people. After numerous classrooms and training sessions, introducing ourselves yet again in front of Renia's church was another opportunity to try explaining, in 100 words or less, exactly what we were up to in Haiti. The church was mainly standing except for the back of it, which was completely knocked out. A USAID tent covered the new sitting area, with the pastor and assistants seated just before...


Day 19) Steps Forward   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Saturday) It's Saturday and we've just gotten back from the longest walk ever. It's made me completely forget what we did yesterday. We had a good class, did a lot of painting and I think the kids really enjoyed it. The mentors are really starting to find their ground in class and it's great to see. After asking the kids what they did yesterday, trying to “review”, the question backfired and I decided that the white girl needed to stop talking and we needed to let the teachers take over. So today we gathered around in our usual circle....


Day 18) The Earthquake   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Friday) Reached for some banana at lunchtime and there was a shudder. It felt as if an enormous truck had been driving by for just a couple of quick seconds. I had never felt an earthquake before but I knew it wasn't strong or even remotely dangerous. Regardless of that fact, however, the first thing we all did was look up at the cement ceiling above us. I looked at Naomi, beside me. Her face was emotionless, or perhaps a mixture of emotion that was too complex to describe. For how can you describe the feelings of someone who...


Day 17) Motorcycle Mama   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Thursday) BEEEP BEEEEEEEEPPPPP!!! Motorcycles riding three, four, five people scoot by as we walk towards town to class. As they turn corners they honk loudly. We greet people as we walk by and they smile at us. “Bonjou,” we say as we step over piles of rubble, the remains of people's houses, stores. Darbonne is a town but sometimes it feels more rural. I suppose that's what happens when you lose a lot of the buildings you used to have. Yesterday was our first Etoys lesson. We started as one large group of students and talked about what we...


Day 16) The Last House Standing   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Wednesday) Next to Joseph's family's house in Darbonne (Leogane) there is an equally large wooden shack with a tin roof. It was quickly built two weeks ago when the family returned to their plot of land after living in a tent community after the earthquake. The original house is a beautiful cement building with white window gratings and sheer curtains that sway in the breeze. It is calm and, besides the curtains, unmoving. In this sense, its mere existence puts a new twist on the recent reality TV shows like “Survivor” and “Last Comic Standing”. For this, with near...


Day 15) Steps Back, Steps Forward   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Tuesday) Here's the sleep count from last night: Benaja: 6 hours (1:30am-7:30am) Beth: 4 hours (4:00am-8am) Bill: 3 hours (4:30am-7:30am, but, according to Bill, did not actually start moving until about 8:45am). And here's what we pulled from triage: Computers that are totally screwed up and perhaps helpless: 8 Computers that won't turn on (thinking it's a clock problem): 44 Computers that are happy and ready to be used: 56 Putting us at a total of 108 computers that we'll be taking to Darbonne and Petite Riviere des Nippes these next two weeks. Let's just say that Bill and...


Day 14) Easter Sunday and Such   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from last Monday) Happy Easter! No news to report today. We all sat around and relaxed while the computers were safely locked away in some place in Port-au-Prince that we couldn't access during the holidays. I spent much of my time checking in with family, blogging on the travel magazine that I started up, Go Girl (www.travelgogirl.com, to put in a plug) and, of course, playing with John Engle's two adorable kids, Daniel and Layla. In the morning, I whipped out my bubbles and nail polish and opened up my playground/salon. Couldn't have gone better. Also opened up the book,...


Day 13) How to Turn 24 in Haiti   Mon, 12-Apr-2010 (beth)

(from Sunday the 4th) Nail polish. Definitely the best thing to bring on this trip. After getting up early to paint the finger and toenails of John Engle's daughter, Layla, it looks like we have successfully painted the nails of nearly all the women of the Engle household. Next to our laptop program, I think painting the toenails of as many women is possible is another goal of my time here. I wish I could say this is a joke because it seems very shallow. But when you see the look on the faces of the little girls who suddenly...


Video: Fallen Darbonne Schools   Fri, 9-Apr-2010 (teefal)

Here's a video by John Engle of the four fallen schools in Darbonne, the earthquake's epicenter. Children from each of these schools will be in our two Darbonne pilots....


Day 12) Last Circle   Thu, 8-Apr-2010 (teefal)

(from last Saturday) I'm sitting in the treehouse for the last time. My luggage is in the truck that will bring us to the beach airstrip where our tiny plane will fly us to Port-Au-Prince. We have two extra passengers, Benaja and Joseph, so whether all of us and our luggage will fit is a open question. We may need two flights. Looking around this panoramic view of Lagonav at the mountains and the mainland in the distance, I'm feeling exhausted and exhilarated. There's a real sense that something big has started. The mentors met once last time in the...


Day 11) Waiting for your voice   Thu, 8-Apr-2010 (teefal)

(from last Friday) Up early for more screencasts with Benaja, we couldn't get past the Final Cut editing problems. Bill spent some time on it and got things moving quickly again, but now their wasn't enough time to render the screencasts for the mentors, which was our overall goal. Michena was to teach one lesson, Lionel another. Roll with it . . . Michena could watch the screencasts on my computer in Final Cut, which meant that Benaja and I couldn't continue our morning screencast work. Lionel confided in Bill that he felt uncomfortable teaching Lesson 8 (tests). After watching...


Day 10) Passion and Praise   Thu, 8-Apr-2010 (teefal)

(from last Thursday) Ten days in and I've settled into a routine. Wake with the roosters, use the latrine, try for some Internet in the library, charge my laptop while I blog and review photos, talk with Bill and Beth. Not one to wear a watch, I've pretty much forgotten about time. I sometimes skip lunch, so Janose brings it to the round house for me and Bill. Thank you Janose! Lunch is an important meal in Haiti, more important than dinner. The school blows a conch shell at the end of the day, which is my signal to start...


Day 9) Digging Deep   Tue, 6-Apr-2010 (teefal)

(from last Wednesday) Some days are tougher than others. Pilots start with smiles all around. Kids are happy; adults are happy. What an opportunity, what a great group! About a week in, it's all about endurance. With a compressed schedule, without much break, the good feelings get replaced with hard work. Everyone's still enthused, but setbacks and exhaustion and doubt become more obvious. It happens in every pilot. Cheerleading and encouragement are critical to success, perhaps the most important task of all. Even if you've got nothing left in the gas tank, you've got to dig inside and find a...


Video : Days 2 and 3 : First Classes   Tue, 6-Apr-2010 (teefal)



Day 8) Full Power!   Thu, 1-Apr-2010 (teefal)

(from Tuesday, no Internet until now) Yesterday morning, Robert told me, "I will fix the electricity today. I will look at the solar and will charge with the generator." I nodded my head with an eager smile. Off he went up to the round house, with my multi-tool in his hand. Earlier I watched him fix a portable DVD player with that same tool, which really impressed me. Robert will be our Matènwa XO repair person, no doubt. Electricity is a real issue, even in this school with pretty good power. The 40 extra laptops have had a strong impact...


Day 7) Community   Tue, 30-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Sunday was our day off, which really means it was our time to catch up on all the things we haven't had time to do, at least in the morning. I spent time capturing video from mini-dv tapes so Bill could edit. While doing that, I imported many photos and blogged. As we seem to only have Internet in the morning, I made use of that now magic state (connection!) to catch up on email and do some research. While working in the library, Robert was organizing his music behind me, playing five seconds of each song, choosing what to...


Video: laptops clear customs   Tue, 30-Mar-2010 (teefal)

John Engle in Port-au-Prince ushering our laptops out of customs!...


Day 6) Marathon   Sun, 28-Mar-2010 (teefal)

This Haitian saying pretty much sums things up: "Beyond mountains there are mountains." Once you've overcome one obstacle, there's another to take its place, then another. We'd planned to have eleven full days in Matènwa, enough for the ten lessons with a break on Sunday (today). Once we arrived, we discovered that we'd need to lose a day with the kids, since the mentor classes were scheduled after the children's classes each day. The local teachers were in school with the kids, so couldn't do training in the morning as we usually do. The kids needed to have class directly...


Day 5) Customs, Cold, and Sleep   Sat, 27-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday was market day, as it is on every Friday, when goods are brought from all over to the same market area that we walked to the previous day. In the last few days, I had developed a cold, likely caught from a cute little two-year old boy in Pennsylvania, so I opted out on another walk to market to instead relax and take a morning nap, hoping to recover from my cold. I woke and went to the treehouse to blog and access the situation. Power would be a problem again today and the wireless was intermittent. As the...


Day 4) No Energy, No Bars   Sat, 27-Mar-2010 (teefal)

(post from yesterday ... no internet till now) Power and wireless are problems. Much of yesterday was charge and wait, charge and wait. The solar panels on both buildings are getting an unusually high workout. As for wireless, I wrote my usual blog post in the morning, but was unable to transmit a few kilobytes of text all day, either through the school's wireless or my own USB modem. Luckily we had enough power for both classes, though we had to change between the treehouse and library outlets a few times. I'm thinking the portable solar panel idea was a...


Video : Day 1 : Meeting in Matènwa   Fri, 26-Mar-2010 (teefal)



Day 3) First Children Class   Fri, 26-Mar-2010 (teefal)

(from yesterday, no Internet until now) The second best part of this job is handing out the laptops to the children. Watching their eyes as they open them, turn them on, and first start using the trackpad and keyboard, I'm always grateful for the tireless hours that OLPC and the XO community have put into this magical machine for the good of the world. The best part of this job comes much later, when we start seeing a different look in the eyes of the children, that of confidence, mastery, and surprise at what they can do. This is the...


Day 2) First Mentor Class   Wed, 24-Mar-2010 (teefal)

The first thing you gotta accept when you're doing something like this: confusion is acceptable. Between the language difficulties, cultural differences, shifting circumstances, and stuff you didn't think of, it's mostly mess, but this is fine. High acceptance, low expectation. The only way to fail is to convince yourself you need to teach everything, they need to learn everything, and that things should go according to plan. To me, plans are a kind of shorthand for things you do when you're not dealing with all the unexpected stuff. Plans are for when you have a moment to think. Plans are...


Day 1) "It's centrally located."   Tue, 23-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Woke yesterday at John's house to a breezy Haitian morning with roosters calling and forest noises all around. One of the medical team regaled with her tale of tarantula woe the night before. John's wife cooked another wonderful meal for us, then we left for Port-Au-Prince to change money and get last minute supplies. Apparently Haitian currency is a bit of a mess from a naming standpoint. There's the Haitian "goud", which is the official currency. There's about 39 gouds to one US dollar. We changed $300 worth at a grocery store. If all prices were in gouds, things would...


blastoff!   Mon, 22-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Waking yesterday at 2:30am after five hours of sleep, I showered, kissed Paula, and dragged my five bags to the lobby, tram, and gate. Gotta love the 2 hour recommendation for international travel. I had more than an hour to spare, as usual. The coffee place hadn't opened yet, so I sat in a caffeineless trance for half an hour, looking at all the empty seats around me. On the plane to Miami, I talked with a man going to Columbia who has a textile business there. I showed him Etoys and talked about Waveplace. There's someone he'd like me...


1! Packing   Sun, 21-Mar-2010 (teefal)

At noon yesterday we got the news . . . the 200 laptops haven't gotten through customs, which means we won't have them for Matènwa. Good thing about backup plans. I called Beth and Bill to tell them "pack your ten laptops." One potential snafu that had us worried for a bit came from something Chris said a few days ago. She flew Spirit Air and they told her she could only have one checked back because of "the economic embargo". A call to American put us at ease. My mom's old airline lets you take two. Before that I...


2! Family   Sat, 20-Mar-2010 (teefal)

This last week was Paula's spring break, her one time off from her grueling sabbatical Spring. The original plan was to take a vacation in our Pennsylvania home, time off to spend as a family and reconnect. The girls got the time off, though without much time from me. As I'm now heading to Haiti for 16 days, which is the longest time I've been away from Isabel, and since Paula is pretty worried about the whole thing, yesterday was about family time, or at least as much as possible given a trip two days away. We visited our friend...


3! Emotions   Fri, 19-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday I woke late, intent to get more courseware done, hoping to get more text to Creoletrans, and had the hardest time getting momentum. As soon as I'd start rolling on the Etoys projects, an interruption would stop me, then again, and again. I call this stage of a creative project the "endgame," when deadlines are looming and total focus and momentum are required. A lot can get done during these sprints, but it takes its toll. As Paula later said, I was a "live wire" yesterday morning, though I did finally get into a rhythm after everyone left the...


4! Setbacks.   Thu, 18-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday I spent much of the day rendering the screencasts into the various formats we'll need: MP4, FLV, OGG. Rendering's the kind of thing you do in the background, but it requires monitoring, at least the way I was doing it. All done, and ready to upload, and I discover that a setting in Final Cut was wrong, which means I need to redo 6 of the 10 I'd finished. It's the kind of setback that can really kill momentum if you let it, but there's no time for a pity party here, so I fixed the problem last night...


5! Courseware   Wed, 17-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday I woke at 4am and worked till 10pm, more than making up for my lackluster Monday. Aside from a trip to LL Bean to get supplies, including a compact water purification pump, I tended to a variety of other concerns I've been neglecting in the eclipse of all things Haiti. With now four days of work left before the plane, I'm confident again, but still stressed. Yesterday's big task was courseware. I finished all ten "Basic Etoys" screencasts (video tutorials) and finished outlining through lesson 3. Making screencasts is an art in itself, which has everything to do with...


6! Redoubling   Tue, 16-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday, almost on cue, came the doubts. As regular as clockwork on any big project, there comes a day just before the end where I become convinced that I just cannot finish. Forward momentum carries me only so far. After weeks of unsustainable rhythm, there comes a time when motivation fails and fear creeps in around my resolve. Paula knows the look; she's been there many times herself with her concerts. "Not enough time to finish?" she asked. "There's enough time," I replied, "just not enough . . . nerve." Yesterday was tough. Struggling to do simple things. I went...


7! Rest.   Mon, 15-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Yesterday my body decided I needed to catch up on rest. Fully intending to work on courseware, I instead slept two-thirds of the day and walked through the rest in a brainless daze. "Take a break, or the break takes you." The problem with barreling forth without regard to emotion is that you gotta pay the bill sometime. The neglected emotions rear themselves the moment you stop moving, like a leg that fell asleep then later woke up in pain. With ample sleep overnight, I drive to Starbucks this morning to get some blogging in. Taking my first sip, I...


8! Back in Pennsylvania.   Sun, 14-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Five hour drive home yesterday through a lovely Nor'easter. Paula had to drive through sheets of rain and wind, while her scared-to-drive husband stared out the window and communed with the elements. I did manage to get about an hour worth of work done, mostly figuring out how to make Wordpress templates so I can switch from Movable Type for the Squeakland and Waveplace blogs. "The world will turn if you're ready or not." Now sitting on my little couch at home while the girls sleep upstairs. I'm always the first up, which gives me some quiet time. I'd say...


9! Hedging our bets.   Sat, 13-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Anything that can go wrong, will. Or so say the Irish. In Haiti, I'd strengthen the statement and say, "Every part of your plan will have obstacles, so have backup plans for everything, and backups for your backups." As an example, the Graham & Parks kids didn't bring in their laptops yesterday, so I won't get to meet with them after all. As for the Haiti pilots, the biggest bad news we could get is injury, disease, or kidnapping. Bill, Beth, and I are aware of these ever present risks, though aside from watching where we walk, getting immunizations and...


10! The laptops are flying.   Fri, 12-Mar-2010 (teefal)

The laptops are on their way. Yesterday we got our tracking number from DHL, which has graciously agreed to ship our 200 XO laptops to Haiti for free. They’ll be in Port-Au-Prince early next week. The big question is whether they’ll clear customs before next Friday, and how much we’ll be charged by the Haitian government. Place your bets! We can now officially thank One Laptop Per Child for redonating these 200 laptops to our Waveplace effort from the laptops donated by G1G1 recipients after the earthquake. Their trust in our efforts is both humbling and much appreciated. Special thanks...


impossible tasks   Thu, 11-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Today's the first of daily morning posts I'll write during the Haiti pilots. Exactly eight weeks ago, on my birthday, I woke from a late night of worry and resolve, weighing the realities of an expanded Waveplace plan in Haiti. I dwelled on the logistical, financial, and personal risks, running through the whole thing in my mind. On the surface, for hours, my brain was certain that I simply couldn't do this. Underneath was another truth, unspoken but felt . . . how can I not do what I can? I woke on my birthday, struggled for an hour more,...


first five haitian mentors   Tue, 2-Mar-2010 (teefal)

Just recieved a photo of the first five Haitian mentors in our upcoming Haiti pilots. Meet Jean Antoine, Ericlese, Alin, Yves Antoine, and Michena-Edith from Petite Riviere des Nippes. Another 35 will soon join them....


Vacation Week   Mon, 15-Feb-2010 (allison)

The past two weeks were jam-packed. We taught sessions in the morning and afternoon and then decompressed and adapted plans in the evening. We progressed through our eToys curriculum and figured out what worked and what needed to be tweaked. We also kept our ear to the voices of local communities, here and in Haiti. This is the strategy we believe gets the best results. We attended events around Cambridge with our friends at OLPC and MIT and attended Haitian Creole church services in Dorchester. We also trekked to NYC on the weekends to attend Crisis Camps there and connect with burgeoning efforts in translation and community activism.



Piloting Stories in Translation   Wed, 3-Feb-2010 (allison)

...deeper issues of translation are at stake. Throughout the day while the children are beginning to integrate the language of their everyday life with this new scripting language, volunteers for Waveplace Foundation and One Laptop Per Child debate translation of Haitian Kreyol.



Thinking about Color and Imagination in Haiti   Mon, 1-Feb-2010 (allison)

Surely the XO cannot be panacea to all existing infirmities within Haiti, particularly the devastation caused by the recent earthquakes from January 12 and on. However, these devices, along with skilled Haitian mentors, can introduce creative problem solving in an area that has suffered for too long from discrimination based on color, and the discouragement of imagination.



two pilots begin   Mon, 1-Feb-2010 (teefal)

In two hours, I'll be meeting with William Stelzer, our chief mentor, who flew up from the Virgin Islands last night, and Allison Bland, who just returned from Crisis Camp NYC, which was a very helpful event. The three of us will start two local pilots today, one at the Fayerweather Street School, which has an ongoing relationship with the Matenwa Community Learning Center in Haiti, and another at Graham & Parks with a class of mostly Kreyol speaking Haitian children. We'll meet with each pilot class once a weekday for the next two weeks, teaching them Squeak Etoys and...


Waveplace Plan to Help Haiti   Tue, 26-Jan-2010 (teefal)

Hi everyone, After talking non-stop with dozens of people and groups over the last two weeks, Waveplace has settled on a plan to help Haiti in the coming four months. Tonight I've uploaded three videos describing this plan. Please forgive the roughness of my presentation (and my tired haggard look). This was simply the quickest way for me to put the details of the plan online for all to see. I will be transcribing the videos tomorrow for those that would rather read text. Here are the videos: The transcription will be here tomorrow: http://haiti.waveplace.com We welcome the ideas and...


haiti update   Fri, 22-Jan-2010 (teefal)

Hi all, Tim Falconer from Waveplace. Just a quick update to let everyone know that the schools and kids from our two Haitian pilots, and the upcoming one in Matanwa, are all alive and safe for now. The building in Petit-Riviere was spared, and luckily the Port-Au-Prince children were moved to the new facility in Williamson just prior to the earthquake. Our chief mentor, Bill Stelzer, is in Port-Au-Prince now . . he's helping with the schools and filming. He & Suzie have been on CNN twice in the last two days (http://haitichildren.org). I'm now in Cambridge MA in talks...


Report from the Haiti pilot   Tue, 20-May-2008 (bill)

(from newsletter) In Early May I headed back to Haiti to check on the Waveplace pilot at Mercy and Sharing's John Branchizio School. Haiti is one of the most turbulent places in the western hemisphere, and since I had last been there in February, rising food prices had caused rioting and the ouster of the country's Prime Minister. During this time, by necessity Waveplace's pilot had been put on hold. When I touched down on the Port au Prince tarmac it was relief to see that the city was back to normal. (Though I did have a UN soldier standing...


News from our partner in Haiti   Sun, 20-Apr-2008 (teefal)

(written by Amanda Adams of Mercy & Sharing, from newsletter) During the most recent period of rioting and civil unrest in Haiti, we at Mercy & Sharing were forced into "emergency mode" to keep the precious children in our care safe. A bright spot for us was the more than 160 Haitians we employ in our operations in Haiti. Some of these amazing people courageously risked their lives to navigate around mass riots and burning barricades to deliver food, supplies and life saving medicine to our orphanages, schools, feeding centers, clinic and abandoned baby unit where we care for abused,...


XO donor comments   Mon, 17-Mar-2008 (teefal)

Today I read some very nice comments from a few of the people who donated their XO laptops to children in our Haiti pilot. Last week I posted photos of the children that got their laptops as well as a new video. The first donor comment was from Emily Davidow, who also blogged: Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program! Seeing the pictures and movie made me so happy. Looking forward to following the progress in Haiti and all your programs through the newsletter. The next was from author David Weinberger, who blogged as...


photos from haiti and st john pilots   Sat, 1-Mar-2008 (teefal)

Just received some photos from the start of our Haitian pilot, along with some new photos from our St John pilot, which is in its sixth week. * Haiti photos * St John photos...


Report from our St John and Haiti Pilots   Tue, 26-Feb-2008 (bill)

(from newsletter) For the past two months my brain has been in two different places, only a few hundred miles apart on a map of the Caribbean, but worlds apart in challenges faced. On St. John we are now six weeks into our pilot. Learning most of the XO is almost effortless for the kids. Chat, Write, Record, Journal, and Browse took me all of about fifteen minutes to get a few kids started, then I just sat back and watched the newfound knowledge spread like wildfire. Learning Etoys is more like jumping into the deep end of the pool,...


haitian pilot starts   Wed, 20-Feb-2008 (teefal)

Today we're starting our pilot in Haiti, at one of the Mercy & Sharing schools in Port-Au-Prince. Our very own Bill Stelzer, leader of our St John pilot, will be teaching Emile Roulsa Jean and two others to become Haiti's first Waveplace mentors. They'll then start a ten-week pilot using the nineteen laptops we were able to receive in time. Our greatest thanks go to the ten kind souls who donated their XOs last weekend, along with David Weinberger, Jerry Michalski, and Wayan Vota for helping spread the word. David & Jerry are A-List blogerati and Wayan runs OLPC News,...


give two, keep none   Fri, 8-Feb-2008 (teefal)

Just sent out a plea to forums and bloggers I know. David Weinberger not only posted it, but he's sending us his XO! Here's the plea: Waveplace is a non-profit starting an XO pilot in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, in ten days. OLPC was going to be giving us laptops, but it fell through, which is why I'm trying to get twenty XOs from elsewhere. Your laptop may end up in the hands of one of the most needy children in the Western Hemisphere. The school where the laptop will be sent is run by Susie Scott Krabacher, who has been the...


Waveplace in Haiti   Thu, 31-Jan-2008 (teefal)

(written by Susie Scott Krabacher, president of M&S, from newsletter) On our January trip to Haiti we had a special treat to show the kids at our Mercy House Orphanage, the new XO laptop designed especially for children by the geniuses at One Laptop Per Child. OLPC had just announced the country recipients of the donated laptops from their Give One Get One program and, praise be, Haiti made the list. (Although as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere it's hard to imagine how it couldn't!) After setting everything up with Tim Falconer, president of Waveplace Foundation, our Mercy...


extreme poverty   Tue, 30-Oct-2007 (teefal)

In the year 2000, world leaders made eight pretty incredible promises, which are known as the Millennium Development Goals. The first of these goals is to reduce by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1 USD per day. More than 1.5 billion people qualify, which is roughly 1 out of every 4 people alive. Two-thirds of these people don't have access to clean water, and malnutrition is so bad that six million children die EVERY YEAR before their fifth birthday. That's a holocaust-sized catastrophe...



Waveplace in Haiti

http://haiti.waveplace.org

Call For Mentors

http://waveplace.org/mentors



Waveplace on NPR