This is the really cute little boy whose family rents out the upstairs part of my grandmother’s house.

Onto the actual news. Today was a much-needed counterpoint to yesterday’s frustrations. We accomplished all the nitpicky little details that were left to finish in the morning to get the computers in the boys’ high school ready for use – place a desktop background on the password-less “admin” account, warning users to log in under the limited “school” account; print and tape up basic instructions on how to turn on the computer, start and save a program, and turn off the computer; and create an HTML shortcut of important websites. We checked the broadband speed, and it seems that we’re getting about 256 kbps, so there might just have been a lot of broadband traffic yesterday afternoon which drove our speed down.

We also had a final meeting with the principal, who agreed to try a pilot project with class 9 and 11 students! He was initially resistant to the idea because grades 10 and 12 cannot take their attention away from their pre-board exams, which happen in a couple of weeks.

In the winter, the students have school outside. Most of the kids walk or bike to school (first picture). Ashish is teaching physics in the background of the second picture while Prabha teaches Sanskrit in the foreground. These pictures were taken from the roof of the building while we waited for a teacher to unlock the half-finished computer lab that’s being built as a second floor. The lab is currently being built with little attention to what the requirements of a computer lab actually are, since no one involved has any such experience. From our three weeks here, we’ve learned a number of pertinent things, including the need for a robust fuse that can withstand the load of ten desktops, a printer, and a scanner. The concrete slab on which they plan to situate the computers is also not deep enough to accommodate the size of a monitor and a keyboard, so they’ll probably need to add a few inches to it. It would also be good for them to make sure they have enough power outlets, power strips, and phone jacks to plug in all of their computers and peripherals. Once the lab is finished, we might think about setting up a local area network with a file and print server so that they can access and print their files from any computer.

We also visited the girls’ high school, although we didn’t accomplish much there over the last three weeks. Hopefully we’ll be able to work with them to better effect once they receive the computers they’re expecting in April.

I’ll be writing and posting a summary of what we’ve done so far and what the next steps could potentially be in a few days, once I have a chance to debrief and recover from this trip.