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Wrap up at the Street Academy and Google Ghana

This morning we went over to the Street Academy for our last time this trip. We were met by journalists from a local newspaper who had been told about our visit, so there was a photo op and Dave was interviewed about our work and the deployments.

We then set up the laptops in the room that still had electricity and spent more time working with the teachers on the applications and showing off some of the ideas that Nancy had for teaching the children how to use the word processor.

Laptops set up for training!

I also spent more time today talking to my new friend Isaac. He’s a college student who does volunteer work in the form of training at the school. He does a lot of graphics work so he’s quite attached to the Adobe suite of applications he uses on Windows, but is interested in checking out Ubuntu on his personal netbook. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a version of 12.04 on a USB stick and the hotel internet wasn’t good enough to download and prep one last night. I gave him a CD and my card instead, promising if he emailed me that I’d send him instructions to get him sorted.

Then we got a picture before we left for the day!

It was then back to the hotel for some freshening up and an attempt at lunch. Time is a problem here in Ghana, meeting appointment times seem to be more of a suggestion, there rarely are regular schedules for things and restaurants usually take a very long time to bring food. In this case, we waited over an hour for our lunch and ended up having to wrap it up after a few bites so we could get to our 3PM meeting.

Our 3PM meeting (which actually started at 3:40, see above) was at the small Google office in Accra. We were meeting with Estelle Akofio-Sowah about some of the work Google has been doing in developing nations to help get businesses online, promotion of strong female technical leaders in Africa (since our team is 3/4 female) and other work. Computer Reach in Pittsburgh has worked closely with Google on projects, so it was nice to have a meeting on the ground here. Oh, and we got awesome t-shirts!

Tonight we got more news about the status of the computers that were shipped over. It seems that customs issues have been mostly been worked through and we have our fingers crossed that we’ll have them in our hands by Monday. That will give us a bit of time to at least do the deployments planned for here in Accra before we have to leave next week.

As mentioned in my last post, we’re leaving tomorrow to head up to Ho to check out another existing deployment. There may also be some monkeys in my future.

Finally, lest my posts be full of too many smiles and excitement, Nancy has been a bit more honest when it comes to the conditions here. In posts here and here she writes about the heat, dirt, noise, smells and other less savory portions of our trip. While I am enjoying this adventure, I have to be truthful and admit that staying in a developing country is not easy for a pampered American like me. I wasn’t quite sure what people meant when they said a trip like this changes you, but now I do, there was some major culture shock for me here that I had to adjust to. No amount of reading about conditions in a place really prepares you for the inescapable reality of it.