Back from a much-enjoyed backpacking trip, we’re in high gear preparing equipment for Tanzania and the Philippines. The condo is a hilarious study in confusion, with piles of equipment everyone you look. Neal is finishing up nine (nine!) servers right now, and in between that work he tested out eleven gigabit network switches. In addition to the 52 laptops for Tanzania, we now have 20 computers, monitors, keyboard, and mice that Reneal purchased from the World Computer Exchange.
Our Indiegogo campaign is underway! Check out “Obsolescence to Opportunity in the Philippines” here. Our goal is to obtain support to install the Reneal IEO low-cost computer system at five schools in Cebu in 2016.
Since Monday we’ve been communicating regularly with our intern Jade as he’s been working on the seventh and final 2015 Cebu installation for Reneal IEO, this one at Medellin Science and Technology High School. Medellin S&T is in northern Cebu, and their IT lab was badly damaged during Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) in November of 2013. We are so pleased to continue our support to the schools that were victims of Yolanda’s wrath.
Wow, back home in California again. The jet lag has faded but the excitement about this year’s work in Cebu continues to bring smiles to our faces. We met with the Reneal IEO Board of Directors yesterday to debrief them on the trip and to discuss 2016 Cebu projects. Neal and I also gave an update on preparations for the Tanzania trip. It’s coming together well, although the difficult job of packing the gear is still ahead.
July 6, 2015 – the first-ever Cebu Open Source Software Championship! It’s been a dream for at least a couple of years for us at Reneal IEO to host a competition for schools with the Reneal system, and what a thrill to finally see it realized. As with all of our work, we were humbled and grateful for all of the support of colleagues and friends to make it possible.
Two weeks since the last blog entry, and what a shock to already be back here in Korea on our way home to California. Two months always sounds like a long time, and we even think there will be time for some leisure travel, but tasks expand to fill the time available. Even with very long days of work, it still came down to the wire to get things finished up.
The municipal fiesta here in Compostela is on July 25th, and the town is already humming with preparation and anticipation. I just got back from an early morning coastal clean-up activity. The local government workers and schools joined together for this event, and I was a part of the Compostela National High School contingent. We filled many bags with trash, and it definitely looks nicer now down by the seafront area! And as the clock ticks down toward our departure, the tension is rising for Neal and me to finish up our planned (and unplanned) Reneal IEO work.
One thing about our time overseas, we definitely experience wide emotional swings – both highs and lows – well beyond those that occur in our daily life in America. This week was a classic case of that: the thrill of watching students use the Reneal IEO system, followed by discovering a laptop with a dead screen that needs replacement. The intense worry about computers frequently hanging up at one of the schools, and then the joy of Neal finding a solution… only to have a different system problem emerge. The bonding and sharing with teachers at the different schools where we work, but tempered by the sadness of seeing so many needs yet unfulfilled following the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda. It’s definitely a roller-coaster, but these trips are what makes it all worthwhile! And for all of our worrying and complaining, it is clear how fortunate we are in the grand scheme of things.
It’s Independence Day here in the Philippines, so we’ve headed to the seaside to enjoy the cooling breeze in the midst of the heat. Neal is out snorkeling while I relax under a thatched umbrella. We recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of our first arrival in Compostela, and one of our early memories is joining in the special Independence Day flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall back in 2006.
A big chunk of this trip is being devoted to updates to the Reneal IEO servers at each of the 14 schools in Cebu where we’ve installed the system. Updates allow us to add new capabilities at each school, fix bugs, and just in general check out how things are going. This time Neal is adding the PhET package to the server, a really fantastic collection of science simulations for students (http://phet.colorado.edu/). We have some science and math songs on different topics that we’ll store on the server, plus the FET timetabling program and updated templates for the new K-12 grading system. Neal has also installed the PyCharm environment for teaching Python code development. Bug fixes include a correction to the “RemoveStudentDirectories” program that will remove last year’s student files in preparation for the new school year, plus a fix to the interface configuration file.