This morning we left the hotel around 8AM to meet Daniel at the school in Tema where he is head master. The ride out to Tema took about an hour, much of the trip was on paved roads, but the last few miles were unpaved and the taxi had to take it a bit slow through some parts where the road had some steep bumps and holes. The Rightway International School was founded in 2010 and currently serves around 180 students from very young pre-school children (2-3 years old) through ages 7-8. Their active staff there today appeared to be about 10 people.
The pre-school students are divided up into 3 rooms in the main building (the first building of the school) and the rest of the students are in newly constructed open air wooden buildings on the lot.
While visiting I got to sit in on a portion of a class where the students were learning about the computer mouse and what it did. In another class they were learning about the keyboard. This is all done with paper books that the students share at their desks, verbal repetition and with the teacher drawing examples and explaining things on a chalkboard.
Even though Daniel is our guide on this trip, his school is not one of the ones slated to received computers this time around. Instead, they’re currently in the first phases of building a new school (explaining that the first one is temporary). The plot of land for the new school was just a short walk away, so we were able to get a tour of that as he explained their plans, including the separate buildings for various facilities: classrooms, cafeteria and kitchen, a computer lab, a science lab and a library. They will also have power and mobile broadband available to them in this location. The building is done in phases, fully completing one building at a time. Once the computer lab building is ready we’ll be in a great position to bring computers there.
It was interesting to note that there were a few other buildings around that were former schools. They’re not easy to run and budgetary concerns greatly limit what can be done and how successful a school is.
The ride back to Accra was uneventful. We spent about an hour at the hotel cooling off before heading off to our next adventure of the day.
Which was the National Museum! I don’t have any photos from the museum because they charge for photo privileges (it almost doubles admission, ouch!). They had an eclectic mix of traditional Ghanaian folk artifacts and tradition, things from the colonial period and a full exhibit about Ghana’s part of the slave trade. They also had exhibits that went beyond Ghana, a lot of things from Nigeria and also some from Kenya and Egypt. In the rear of the museum they had a room filled with locally-crafted gifts which was run by one of the artists. It was a pleasure speaking with the artist as he showed me some of his paintings, the bead work his mother did and some of the work of other artists. I ended up walking out with a small(ish) wall mask that has the gye nyame adinkra symbol on it and a beaded elephant carving. We then quickly got some very late lunch at a nearby establishment that seemed to have run out of most things for the day but was able to serve us chicken and fish with rice.
This evening I spent a little time getting familiar with the PXE server that Dave brought along for imaging new machines.
I am now giving myself a final refresher course in exactly what ships with Edubuntu 10.04 before going back on site at the Street Academy tomorrow. I’ve also been paging through the Ubuntu Manual for 10.04 which we’ve made a policy of sending along with each computer, I also brought along a paper copy that we’ll leave with one of our contacts here. I’m picking out some very specific basic things to review with the teachers tomorrow, Nancy will be working on application-level training. Tomorrow should be an exciting training day!