We were awakened at 5:30 to have breakfast by 6:00. The coffee is always good here. Breakfast was the usual fare with super cooked eggs, meaning overly done, and pineapple. We were introduced to the staff, then boarded the trucks and vans for the school. We went by the elementary school first and realized how much work needed to be done and left off a few people, then our group, Richard, Debra and I, went on over to the middle schools to take a look at the computers. We met the computer teacher there agin and she was happy to see us. Her name is Milady. Language continued to be an issue, as none of us speak Spanish and she speaks no English. She was having trouble with 4 computers in the lab, so Richard went to work on those, while I tried to work with her to see what part of the wish list we had made last year had been taken care of and which part needed work. We could not understand each other, so I went out to get Andy Sewell, who speaks some pretty good Spanish, to come in to translate. He was a blessing. Although not perfectly fluent, he was able to understand and communicate what we needed. We found one computer that needed to be replaced and got enough information to decide that we needed Blake McBurney to pick up a couple of things on his way in. We have since given the list to Laurie WIlling of HOI, so she can communicate to the computer store and Blake’s driver what is needed. We found that the teacher was having to split several of her classes into two 30 minute sessions, rather than a full one hour because there weren’t enough computers. We then went over to the computers in the library and found that they were being taken care of, with the exception of updating. We reconfigured the computers to automatically update at 9:00 each morning, since they were turning off the computers at night. We found some bad speakers, which we will try to replace before we leave. We left the computers updating, when we left to come back for lunch. Lunch was the usual salad, rice, tortillas and beef (I think).
We will go back this afternoon and see how the computers are running after the updates. We will also download some anti-virus software because they are constantly getting infected.
We went back to the school after siesta and could not get the internet up. We realized that some computers had Windows 7 on them and some had Windows XP. We’re not really sure why. We finally decided that the reason we couldn’t get the internet up was because we may have used up all the bandwidth for the updates. We guessed correctly. Apparently, they can only get 250 MB per day, so we used it all up. Our understanding is that if you go over in one day, then it is shut down the next day. It is a possibility that they will have no internet tomorrow. Oh well. We did manage to get our list to the right people, so it is our understanding that the replacement computer, the good speakers and the headsets for the little children will be here tonight.
Richard, Debra and I decided to look in on the sewing class. Kristin Dean was speaking in Spanish to the adults that came to her class in the afternoon. Let me explain. The children only go to school for 1/2 the day. It is honestly too hot in the afternoons for them to be in the classrooms. We were roasting in the library. They were going to be making blouses that afternoon. That morning they were teaching the children to sew, boys included. The students were making little dresses for the younger children. The boys were making dresses for their little sisters. They would also be learning to make pants for the school uniforms. Everyone was impressed that the boys wanted to learn to sew and were so good at it.
The 3 of us continued on to the elementary school to help with the digging. When we arrived, we were thrilled to see how much earth everyone had moved. There were an amazing number of people working and they were happy to see some fresh meat added to the group. The Dean boys were working hard with the pick ax and the Dean women were taking wheel barrow loads of dirt to dump in the road to build it up, I guess. I hope it doesn’t wash away with the first rain. So we all pitched in. I picked up a pick ax and was surprised at how hard the dirt was. I am sure it had never been moved before. I dug for awhile, but it was obvious that we needed more muscle behind it. I did swing several different times, but really did best using the shovel to load dirt into the wheel barrows, giving the pick ax people a breather while we shoveled. It was really amazing how people just automatically pitched in and did what was needed. When a wheel barrow was full, there was always someone to take it out to the road and then someone was waiting to bring another wheel barrow to be filled up. It was hard work, but also, we accomplished something.
We came back to the ranch about 4:00, took showers, rested for awhile, then had dinner. They had juice in the pitchers, so being the adventurous eater that I am, I tried it. Not many would. They told us it was gourd juice and, honestly, I thought it tasted like a gourd smells. At first it was shocking, but after you got used to it, it wasn’t bad at all!
We always discuss what we did during the day, each of us giving reports on the various projects. Then the new arrivals for the year introduced themselves and made comments on the entire experience. It was uplifting. But now………it’s off to bed. I’ve decided 9:00 is my new bedtime. Adios, mi amigos. Hasta mañana.