I was a little bored before I left and a little overwhelmed now. We heard the President of Rwanda speak yesterday and watched a traditional Rwandan dance. Today we exited the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) after a worker lifted the gate by hand.
Nicholas Negroponte spoke yeterday and made a compelling case for the laptop project. The best part about his work is that he understands the project in real terms, which means that although he is idealistic, he is reasonable and understands the complexity of the develping world. For all of you wanting to buy an XO laptop (the ones from our project) the directors of One Laptop Per Child indicated that it is likely that the Give One Get One program will be reinstated once the version 1.5 comes out. This program where people can buy laptops will probaby begin again around November.
The formality ended today and we started to really get into the program today. We started this morning by taking broken laptops from the Rwandan program apart and fixing them. My group had two with software problems and one with a broken screen. The screens will be ordered later, but the two that we fixed will end up back in the classrooms soon.
Outside and inside of the program we have had an unexpected introduction to Kigali, Rwanda and Africa in general. I still have not seen a McDonalds, I can't escape Coke and Sprite, and I eat French Fries at almost every meal. At first I thought Kigali consisted of our hotel and a small district of town. On Sunday we took a bus ride and saw a lot of the country. Not only was the countryside beautiful, but perhaps equally interesting was seeing the entire city of Kigali as our destination Lake Kivu in the north.
The program has gotten more compelling as the training as it has gone on. We have finalized our changed site to the town of Mboro in Senegal. There are fascinating people here from all over the world and although originally I wasn't sure that it made sense to bring everyone to Rwanda, the idea is gaining hold in my mind.