What a week! couldn’t blog due to the storms in Lesotho knocking the power out every evening which is the only time of the day to send over a 30k modem.
The last time i was in Lesotho, i remembered hearing a story about the coal miners in the South African using a language called ‘Fanacaloco’. Since the miners were from different countries each with their own language, Fanacaloco was adopted as the common means of communicating, it was referred to as the “South African Swahili”.
This week Camara and SNL (SchoolNet Lesotho, our partner organisation) adopted a bit of the Fanacaloco way to get our Technical Services Centre (TSC) off the ground. The TSC is where local volunteers and students refurbish computers that are sent over by Camara workshops in Dublin and Belfast. The computers have all been wiped of any data and just need to be tested and loaded up with our educational software and operating systems designed for schools.
We started on Thursday by getting the place cleared and cleaned. The TSC is based in a school compound so there were plenty of volunteers and students who wanted to get involved. We got the school graffiti artist to paint the walls and some of the carpenters started with the shelves and tables.
Each day, classes of training were offered to the volunteers who soaked up aeverything offered like hardware maintenance, Office basics, Computer refurbishment, Linux fundamentals etc.
By Saturday, we had a soft launch of the new TSC. I had finished but it is only beginning for the volunteers here and this facility. With over 216 schools in Lesotho needing computers to help educate and raise the IT literacy rates of students in Lesotho to levels in neighboring South Africa, this Technical centre will be very busy. Not only will it refurbish and provide computers to schools, but it also act like a PC Hospital for the computers in schools when they need attention or maintenance. The people who worked with me over the last few days really felt like they had achieved someting and that this centre was to help their school, their friends schools and their countries schools. We will be back in July to check on its progress.