Computers Find Homes

Computers Find Home





Such a great day today!  Janine and I were up and down the mountain, chini and juu, to meet with staff of local schools in line to receive computers donated by IBM.  After the typical distractions of  morning including reporti, attempts to send email, greetings with the various doctors and staff, arrivals of funded students, departure of the Rotary group, and a rushed toast with peanut butter as well as Africa café..mmmm…Janine and I set off late and at a brisk march, heading uphill to Maua   village to meet the headmasters of Ifati and Rukima schools where we had made a needs assessment last year.  We were an hour into the walk, past women arriving to market with full banana bunches on head top and school children everywhere in blue and white, grey and white, chirping greetings, even teasing two sweaty mzungus.


The computer teachers and headmasters were ready for us with a outline of how they intended to use the computers including making access for students a priority, approaching computer teaching using the Tanzanian government’s very detailed syllabus, sharing the computer resource between two the two schools, covering power costs from the school budget and securing the computers by putting grills on the windows and reinforcing the door on the room intended to be the future computer lab.  Two watchmen, one at each school, will keep watch at night and they are already in the school budget. One guard is maasai….which is a good.  They say they don’t sleep.


The details were all laid out and as we talked more details were included.  Each school has 300 students, the school infrastructure is paid for by the community so the renovations to the computer room would have to be financed by the community and the donor in a 60%/ 40% split. Donor 40%. We discussed the need for the local director of education to be involved.  I hoped they might begin to get security in place before the computers are delivered and they are not eager to make changes unless the computers are guaranteed to arrive.  I promise to deposit donor 40% of the costs for renovation, workbooks and stationary.  They said they would ask the priest to inform the community of the computers and need for money to secure the rooms from the pulpit on Sunday.  They will call the director of education on Tuesday and then they suggested inviting all the parents to the school on Thursday to both witness and celebrate the computer’s arrival. We look forward to that!   After a tour of the classroom to assess both bars and locks we agreed to write up the plan again in more detail and sign on each to our shared obligations.


Tanzanian government computer education syllabus….impressively complete.







P1040770New computer lab…



Escorted out the red clay track to the main road by both headmasters, we set off on foot hoping for a dalla, a pickup or some transport then finally resorted to calling God Taxi to take us down the foothills to the Kilimanjaro Youth Technical and Training Center in Mandaka.  We crept along the road, half blocked by perhaps 50 recent dumps of gravel for resurfacing, in preparation for the rains.


Down below Headmaster George Shirima ( soon to retire) and Annie Mosha the computer teacher were waiting.  Last year KYTTC had received two laptops from IBM through David Crossley.  After catching up on the years news  Annie made a presentation of the students who had received computer training in the last year and their grades and  some recent exams with  technical questions completely over my head.  We then visited the computer lab (still intact, no break-ins, no damages) to see the two IBM’s filled with  hosts of student files, many of which we opened to see all sorts of computer assignments; word processing, columns,  designed announcements, certificates, forms, grids etc. Everything one can do on a computer without internet.  Seeing that computer filled with student assignments had Janine and me…. truly excited.  How lucky those students are to have Annie, such a committed teacher.  Evaluation complete.


Both schools bemoan the lack of internet but are optimistic that the service will return.  More permanent solutions would be welcome along the lines of whatKilemaHospitalhas done…they now have wifi.  We wait with eagerness and patience to receive the pass code.


Next week we will transfer the computers on to both schools, perhaps 5 to Ifati/ Rukima given the student population of 600 and 3 to KYTTC with a population of 107 students and 4 computers currently active in the lab.  In the meantime we have had sisters and students getting keyboard practise.  Sr. Matilde brought her own laptop and asked us if we could teach her to use it.  Augustine’s son Samuel had his first computer experience today and Janine says he’s a fast learner!


David Crossley, here’s to you!  Asante!






The Ifati classroom which will be designated for the laptops initially while renovations for security are being made.



Annie displaying examples of student work…..there were pages and pages of student files.



Visiting the laptops at KYTTC vocational school in Mandaka with George and Annie and the incoming headmaster of the school after George retires.



A sample of Annie’s  computer exam…too technical for my understanding….many students did well.  We have the list of student marks.


Janine, a teacher by instinct!




Margot teaching Sr Matilde, the clinical nurse specialist in the outpatient eye clinic, how to use her own computer!

Yes, it was a great day!

But then some days later it was even better……………………….


Perhaps the most enjoyable activity  of this trip was the final delivery of the IBM computers to all the schools.  There was great excitement particularly where students, parents , community members and teachers came together to receive these new resources.

This year Ifati and Rukima schools received 9 laptops for 600 students, 5 of which were donated through IBM thanks to the work of David Crossley and 4 which were added by a Rotary connected school group from Ontario who appreciated our preparatory work and contract of intended use for student education at the poorer government schools.  Mandaka Vocational school KYTTC received 3 from IBM plus an additional 1 from  from the school group to make a total of 4 this year.  Their computer lab now has eight active computers  6 of which have been donated through us.

The photos speak volumes so I’ll let them.

At Rukima and Ifati Schools..the computers are delivered.




Computer Teachers and Rukima and Ifati Schools
























What a celebration!





Then computers were delivered to Kilimanjaro Youth Technical Training Center….KYTTC








Annie and students









147-P1050105 Thanks to Everyone!



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