Back to Basics (Monday, 2010 June 5)

July 7, 2010

So, although I bought a USB key from Camtel, I am not having any luck getting it to work. Sigh.

This morning started off OK. Highlights: the most delicious pineapple (anana) I have ever had, with hints of vanilla, orange, and coffee. Also, as we left, J-C broke out into "Hello Goodbye" [is that the name? I can’t check right now] by the Beatles. He didn’t have all the words right, but the essence is pretty unchangable: "You say goodbye, I say hello."

We went to the Lycee and hung around for a while. This is where things get a little bizarre. First: they have at least one, possibly two, computer science teachers already (I’m going to use the term "informatics", because that’s what they’re called in French). Second: they also have a computer lab with 11 computers, the majority of which seemed to work OK. Thirdly: when I proposed setting up an Internet connection for ’em, they said that they’d have to check with their "consultant", who is their go-to dude for matters ordinateur. So, basically, what the hell am I needed there for? Hard to say. I tried to ask J-C on the way out of town and he said something like "What are you talking about? It’s better to have someone who’s trained in this instead of other people." I guess he could mean, trained in teaching informatics — but I’m not, really.

I talked a little bit to Nadege when I got back and she said that it’s pretty common, because there’s a dearth of teachers, for schools to hire arbitrary people to teach courses in stuff like informatics, and it may be that it’s much cheaper for the school to have a "real teacher", especially a volunteer, instead of those "vacatiers" (substitutes/temps). But it doesn’t make me feel like an especially productive development worker.

I’ll talk to Gaby tomorrow — I also have to write up a report about the housing situation — but I have seen that in general, everything the Organization does has at least two reasons, possibly three, so I’ll take it on faith that there really is some kind of need there for me. But so far it’s looking like I’m scoring pretty low on the Organization Suffering Sweepstakes. I’m a little bummed because my priority has always been where I am needed most, and I feel like this is probably not it. But who can say.

Gonna try to reboot into Windows to get the USB key working.

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