Ghana Update IV



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I just got done teaching the morning session; with two classes a

session and two sessions a day, I have to lecture the same material

four times, all while trying to keep the kids excited and engaged. My

first tack was to try and give them a brisk walk-through of the

entirety of computing, but this proved a little much – simply giving

them some time in front of the word processor was one of the most

valuable things that I could do. So I decided to keep my lecture short

and sweet and get kids hacking as soon as was reasonably


This place still cracks me up – the large painted signs

indicating “DO NOT URINATE HERE” give me the giggles. People show up

an hour late to things – or more – the minister of Education was

supposed to meet us at noon, but it’s 1:45pm and there’s still no sign

of the minister. Ah, well. And we ordered too much food and not enough

drinks; we can adjust for that tomorrow.

Last night we realized that

the relatively low cost of Internet access at BusyInternet meant that

we could possibly hand out “five hour” cards to all of our pupils for

pretty cheap. The total cost for this would be around US$500, but we

might be able to do that with our leftover “lunch money” from the bank

and if that could be enough to make the difference in the program’s

long-term impact, it would be well worth it. (thinking like a drug

dealer here: first five hours are free, kid – then they’re


The quality of the Internet connection here bothers me,

though. Not only are web pages slow (and some are altogether

inacessible due to the way their servers are configured), but IM will

suddenly drop off every few minutes, making teaching IM to teachers a

frustrating task. We got cut off several times in the middle of saying

“So IM is much easier to use than email!” Oy. Thankfully, the IT

center pulled a surprise out of its hat with a huge, high-quality,

modern projector. It’s been very useful in helping our teaching. I

gotta go; second session’s coming in. See ya! 🙂