Yesterday around 12:30 pm I heard some vehicles come up the hill to the administration building. I thought nothing more of it figuring that it was Pastor Victor bringing water, bread and fruit. Then I heard the plant for the computer lab start-up. I changed into a dress and walked down to the computer lab. When I got on the porch I heard Boston and NYC accents but then when I entered the computer lab two tall, athletically built black men were there talking to Pastor Victor. A third colleague from 1ViLLAGE joined them and then I heard the typical Ghanaian accent I have grown use to here. They introduced themselves. Abdel was a co-founder of SBIG(Students Bridging the Information Gap). SBIG brought the computers to BASCO. Abdel had schooled in the US, in the New York area thus the NYC accent. Kojo was Abdel’s cousin visiting from of all places Boston! Boston and I immediately bonded against NY. You know why! The familiar Ghanaian accent belonged to Stephen from 1ViLLAGE.
There was a group of people from 1ViLLAGE swarming over the computer lab. 1ViLLAGE had been hired by SBIG to install, maintain and repair the computers in the three schools where they had installed computer labs and libraries. The group was there to do a preliminary assessment of the computer lab for future a upgrade.
The BASCO lab and library was the first project of SBIG. They came the summer of 2008 to install the computers and build a the library. Stephen from 1ViLLAGE sat down with me and Abdel to discuss the problems we have been having with the computer lab. We talked for more than a half an hour. My co-teacher, Eric, also joined us for the discussion.
They learned the following from the discussion.
– BASCO can’t use the lab if the car is gone because the car’s battery sparks the electric plant for the lab.
– A student is starting the plant with some Mcquireesque trick because the starter is ruined and BASCO can’t buy another one.
-We used the lab at most four times during normal classes the first term and maybe three times after school or in the evening, when the day students are gone.
-Eric is very knowledgeable about computers.
-Two computers have been sent out for repair and have been away for at least three months.
-The computers in the lab are filled with viruses.
I learned the following from the discussion.
-SBIG will give their schools technical support through 1ViLLAGE.
-If BASCO is not connected to the power grid by summer SBIG will remove the current computers, refurbish them and send them to Our Father’s House, the next project. BASCO will get a new energy-efficient set up with batteries that will power the lab for 48 hours after being charged for 6 hours.
-The internet will come this summer.
On the whole I was impressed with this group. Abdel and Tom, the other co-founder, seem very committed to this project. Tom was not there but I have recently communicated with him through Email. Abdel and Kojo impressed me because although they had a great western education they remembered their roots – using their local names and supporting a project like this in their home country.
ps. Mom you would love Abdel. He thinks that NYC is the greatest city in the world. He was the captain of the Notre Dame football team and he loves the Yankees!