We woke this morning with a single mission in mind. It was to travel into the hills to see if our ideas for bringing technology-infused reading experiences could be effective and replicated in the rural sections of Guatemala. The group boarded our new vehicle capable of handling the extreme road conditions on the way to San Miguel, and we departed. The biggest early surprise was the beautiful town of Huite (wheat-tay). It was a clean and beautiful town with great homes, flowers, and parks. The road was straight up from there for about 20km until we reached the village of San Miguel. Pigs, goats, dogs, cows, and people littered the road to the village that climbed thousands of feet from Huite.
We arrived, and there was instant interest from the kids like there has been in each school. All of the white people create quite the stir. We talked with the principal teacher and a few teachers. I should say that Jose, our translator, talked to these folks. I have tended to get really shy in these moments, part discomfort and part embarrassment that I have so much to offer, but nothing without language to share. Soon we realized that the school at San Miguel functions with no electricity. This was a surprise for us, but the school said that they could pay their neighbor who would loan us some electricity to showcase how our OX Tablets and projector can reshape reading in their classrooms.
The next 30 minutes were complete chaos as all of the teachers left their rooms to meet with us, and they left all of their classes to do whatever. We were also trying to get the electricity run. This meant running an extension cord out of the window of the classroom (it was really three wires with a junction box attached on one end and a plug on the other), and then throwing the wire over the barbed wire fence that surrounded the school and attaching the cord to a second extension cord (attaching means jamming two wires into a plug on one end of the cord). This cord was run across the road before it was thrown over the neighbors hedges. From there, it was run through a hole in the wall in the neighbors home into and outlet for power.
Once we had power, we showcased the potential power of the projector in these spaces. It was well received, and we discussed the possibility of bringing this technology to this space for future use. After walking the village a bit, we boarded the car to discuss the logistics to make this work in the poorest of conditions. We need help with this, and we are calling on experts, students, and solutionists to help us achieve our goals. More details about how to make this a successful project are coming soon.
|Our team preparing for the day. Lots of driving to get from Zacapa to San Miguel.|
|The beautiful children of San Miguel.|
|Sixth grade readers were reading at a first grade level at this school. |
Our best work has to be with the toughest of places. These
students were so excited to learn and read.
|Recess in every place in the world looks a lot alike.|
|Beyond the fence and the barbed wire about 20 meters is the electricity that this school desperately needs.|
Never thought that we would be game planning around schools that have no electricity.
|Engagement is a beautiful thing to see in action. |
These young learners are so ready to experience learning in a new way.
|With a projector and a tablet, we create our own interactive whiteboard along with a broom handle pointer.|
|Some mom from Weikel Elementary School donated this shirt a long time ago, and it ended up in the mountains of Guatemala. We are such an interconnected place.|
|The vista from San Miguel was magical. The fertile valley below, and the mining mountains in the distance.|