Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Internet conferences with no internet

I’ve just had the most fantastic couple of days staying with Lindsey and the other TTC volunteers at TTC Save in the south of Rwanda. OMG TTC Save was totally amazing, my jaw hit the floor when I saw it. They had group work going on in the classrooms as you walked on past, a big computer lab, the buildings were beautifully built and maintained with murals painted on the walls in the dining hall, everyone spoke good English and they even finished the day with keep fit aerobics in their courtyard to the usual uplifting African pop.

 The conference was supposed to be about using this internet portal thing as all the TTCs are in the process of being connected up to the internet. Apparently my TTC was done on Friday in my absence. Can’t wait to go in tomorrow and see if it actually works. However, the internet played up at Save so we got the morning off. All of us vsos in team TTC went to the nearby national museum in Butare to pass some time. I have to say that the museum was really really good and surpassed all of my expectations. There was a whole room dedicated to traditional thatch housing with a life size one you could go in. There were also the biggest woven baskets I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe how much the culture and landscape had changed when I looked at photos of Rwanda from 50 and sometimes only 30 years ago. Its well worth a visit if you want to see Rwanda in a new light.

The afternoon was spent trying to understand the new internet portal (still with no internet). Its a great website but I have my reservations about the drive for ICT here. Its all very well trying to get these things up and running in the TTCs but once the students leave there many of them will never touch a computer ever again as many schools do not even have electricity. It will be great for the ones who manage to go to uni or into teaching secondary level though. My main concern is about maintenance.  When I think how often computers go wrong....I just am not at all sure what we are supposed to do when these things break down as there is no Jan or Denise out here to fix things! There are lots of tutors who know how to use computers but I don’t think any of us have ever had any training on how to fix the damn things. Knowing me I’ll probably break them even more!

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