After a dusty hours drive from Monze Mission Hospital was St. Canicius boys school in Chikuni. We met with our contact Fr. Dana, a Jesuit from India who has been in Zambia for 8 years. The school has 700 students (450 boarding) and one computer lab. The grounds and buildings were modern and quite a shock to see 10km up a dirt road, the huge brick and iron gates just appear and when the dust settled. We sat with Fr. Dana in a small office adjacent to the computer room will 40 Camara computers fully functional and networked. The room was completed with 40 students typing away in complete silence. This computer room sets a definite benchmark for other schools to aspire to, not all of the other schools would have the facilities but it would be nice to show what can be achieved.
We had a bit of difficulty securing a definite yes from Fr. Dana in terms of getting a full Edubuntu learning environment organised for next week. He will have to go to his board to get a consensus although he was very impressed by the Camara Skillbuilder curriculum. Skillbuilder 1 is a guide with four chapters which help teach beginners basic computer literacy skills. The chapters cover an introduction to computer hardware and software using OpenOffice Writer, Calc and Draw. There is a workbook which must be completed at the end of every chapter. On completion of the four workbooks over two and a half days training, they are awarded the Skillbuilder certificate. This is the only Open Source training certificate provided in Ireland that will be certified internationally and will cover Level 3 FETAC requirements. The Skillbuilder guides are available to download from the resources section of the Camara website.
We left Fr.Dana optimistic of returning in two weeks to begin training and headed back to Masabuka before sundown at 6pm. As we entered the Seminary, Bro. Fintan informed us of the boiling water situation. The tea here is not unlike the tea in Ireland although the kettle boils quicker here as Masabuka is 4400 ft above sea level so boiling temperature for water is 96 degrees C. Chatting over a evening cup of tea watching the night eclipse our view was a nice way to end the day. Tomorrow we journey to Livinstone 5 hours south of Masasbuka on the border with Zimbabwe and Bostwana.