A Day in the Life of an OLPC Peru Intern


Joshua Debner and H.K.Nunzio were 2010 OLPC Interns in Peru - she wrote and he photographed - and they make impressive multimedia blog posts about their experiences on Hope + Josh. One stuck my fancy as worthy of excerpting here. Enjoy this tidbit from Sugarcane and Squares: A Day in the Life of an OLPC Intern:

My cell phone blinks 7:30, and I realize it's time to head to school. We put our dishes in the sink and walk down the hill with the director. We will spend the first hour with the first and second graders. They're not easy to teach, in part because they have short attention spans, and partly because they don't understand concepts like highlighting text or using a cursor.

The kids hurry into their seats, chirping in unison, "Buenos dias!" Josh and I distribute the laptops and help the students plug them in. As we are getting settled, a little boy with sunburnt cheeks and ripped clothes shuffles in. The kids stare silently. "It's Isaac," they whisper to each other. We've only been at the school for a few days, and this was the first time I'd seen him. "Hi Isaac, I'm Esperanza. We're going to work with computers today," I kneel down and hand him a laptop.

Isaac doesn't smile like the other kids. He seems lost, like a weary traveler who got off at the wrong stop. As Josh teaches the children how to use a simple paint program to practice their shapes and colors, Isaac stares at his computer. I show him how to click on a shape and draw it on the screen. He's not impressed. I draw a heart and fill it with red. He just blinks. Maybe he'll respond to numbers. I ask him to find the 7 on the keyboard. He takes his finger from his mouth and presses on the N key. "What is this called," I ask, pointing to the heart on the screen. Nothing. "Okay, let's try to make a square," I suggest, as the other kids paint elaborate rainbows and outside scenes.

Finally, he taps the touchpad and makes a tiny square on the screen. Something changes in him. His eyes grow wide, and he jumps up from his desk. Carrying around his laptop, he proudly points out the square to everyone in the room. "Yes, very nice, Isaac," the teacher says, leading him back to his chair. "I'm shocked he even showed up today," he tells us while the kids work. "We haven't seen that boy in months. His parents never went to school, so they'd rather have him work in the fields. I think he only came because he heard we'd be using the laptops."

Now continue reading Sugarcane and Squares: A Day in the Life of an OLPC Intern.


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