Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tech Squad's Ten Minutes of Fame

Well, we made the papers.  We'll try not to let it go to our heads... :-)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Typical Costs

Typical costs for various items in Namibia (Windhoek) based on a currency exchange rate of N$6.40 = US$1.00.[cut]





Bag of chips (medium sized, not large)



Chocolate bar



1 pound of seedless grapes



Six eggs



Five potatoes



Pepsi 6-pack



Macaroni (1 Kilo)



Jungle crunch cereal



Chicken fillets (4 Kilos)



Ground beef (2.6 Kilos)



Refried beans (can)



Milk, 1 Liter



Canned veggies




Eating Out


Hamburger, Fries, Drink



KFC 3-piece



Small ice cream in a cup



Beer (draft)



1 Shot JD



Prime-cut Steak






New release movie rental



New hardback book



New paperback book






Newspaper (local)



Movie ticket



Some Updates

I hate back-posting, but here's a few things that have been happening these past two weeks:

Tech Squad Fundraising

Tech Squad Training

Director's Visit


Tech Squad Fundraising

We started fundraising so that we can get Tech Squad shirts made with our logo.  I'd also like to get a few sets of screwdrivers as we never seem to have enough.

The computer lab, packed with 80 bodies watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

They decided to show movies and charge for admission.  The first movie was $1 and we filled the room- more than 80 people.  The following week we raised the price to $2 and got 50 participants.  We hope to raise more money through a few bake sales and community computer classes.

Our goal right now is $600 for the T-shirts.  Another $400 for screwdrivers would be nice too.


Tech Squad Training

The Tech Squad at a training after school.  Here they are learning more about internal hardware.. We had 40 computers donated from the Ministry which we are currently working on to distribute.  Most seem to be in poor condition, but we have gotten several running. Here's Joel working on one of the new computers.  They are all missing various pieces of hardware so the Tech Squad has been moving pieces around to get complete computers.

We have logged more than 30 hours of training for the Tech Squad.  They are now capable of stripping & building machines, formatting & installing Windows and OpenLab Linux, installing & configuring software and facilitating workshops teaching it all.  An awesome group.


Director Visit

The new director of Peace Corps in Washington came to visit.  He stayed for an hour and checked out the programs happening at the school.  They were very impressed with the knowledge that the kids demonstrated, especially when Mervin (Tech Squad 2006-2007) played a song he created on the computer.

Various important people in Peace Corps. Mr. Cheddor (US Peace Corps Director) listening to Mervin's latest rap hitMost of the Tech Squad and Photo Lab Crew posing with the director.


The directors (they always travel in packs) liked what they saw and promised some help with funding.  I'm hopeful but not holding my breath.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Me? Brad Pitt?

I put up an advertisement for a Valentine's Day movie around the school today for the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  I have been getting comments all day that I look just like Brad Pitt.  Now, other than my mother, I don't think anyone at home would agree with this comparison.  But, just to be sure...

Brad Pitt is the one on the left.  He has muscles.  Dark hair.  His glasses are for show.  He's a stud.Here's me.  I have blonde hair and wear glasses, without which I become blind as a bat.  Not so muscular. I'm not a stud.

It's funny, but I still struggle with telling most of the kids apart.  I have to memorize their faces much like their names (try to remember facial features, hair styles, etc.).  I don't seem to need to do this for white faces- I remember them easily.  Is this a form of memory racism?  Whatever it is, it obviously goes both ways.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tech Squad Gets Moving

We spent a whole week after school doing some basic training on computers and giving computer workshops. This past Saturday was the Tech Squad's first practical.  They developed a workshop on Microsoft Paint and delivered it to street kids in Babylon.  It went great!

These guys gave up their Saturday to do this workshop, starting at 9 to develop a workshop outline and lesson plan.Next, we hopped into the school combi and headed for Babylon, a section of Katatura on the outskirts of town.Once there, each squad consisting of four members walked around and asked kids if they wanted to participate in a computer class.  None refused.

We divided the 12-member Tech Squad into three groups, each responsible for one half hour workshop on computer basics and drawing.  They each came up with lesson plans, activities and lectures appropriate for the subject and learners.  Some groups chose older learners, some younger.  Overall I think they did great and it seemed like they all enjoyed teaching these small children some new skills.

The Classes went well for their first time.  They ran into a number of problems, all a part of the learning process.  The participants in the computer class were using computers for the very first time- quite an experience for both trainer and trainee.

The Tech Squad in all it's coolness.  We've decided that this is the standard Tech Squad group photo pose- all gathered around with arms crossed and stern looks.After the workshops we visited the Fire House next door.  They were kind enough to give us a tour and let the kids climb around on the equipment.Here's one Tech Squad Member, Matroos, a veteran of the 2006 Tech Squad sporting a heavy fire fighting helmet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The New Tech Squad

The applications are in and the new Tech Squad has been selected.  This year there are six grade 11's and six grade twelve's that will be traveling all over Namibia to conduct workshops on computer skills.

The new Tech Squad in their first photo.  We took a hike to the top of the hill behind the school to think about perspective and remembering where you come from in life.

The Tech Squad will be training the next three weeks on facilitation techniques, basic and advanced computer skills, and hardware.  Once their training is done, they will start traveling to schools all over Namibia.

Here they are doing the old "everyone's feet must be in the box" puzzle..They finally figured it out, after several failed attempts.  It was pretty funny to watch.

This Saturday is their first trip.  They will prepare a workshop on a basic computer skill then deliver that workshop at the community center in Babylon, Katutura.  It is a good way to get some early experience which they can apply to future trainings.

I can't wait to see what this group can do this year!!