I arrived in Bijawar last night after five days in transit: SFO to Delhi, by way of Hong Kong and Bangkok (total travel time: about 30 hours), then to Bhopal (total travel time: about 4 hours), then to Bijawar (total travel time: 12 hours, including lunch in Sagar).

Update (July 21, 2009): Now that I’ve finally gotten around to pulling photos off my camera, this was the view outside the window at the gate while I waited for my connection in Hong Kong. You can sort of see the reflection in the window, but I thought the mountains and water were pretty enough to make up for it.

I did make it to the Boys’ High School at 9 this morning, where there were five students and one of the teachers to whom we’d been talking. The power schedule in Bijawar right now is that it’s on from 9am-11am, 1pm-4pm, and 8pm-5am, so I’ve got to work with the students from 9am-11am, as the afternoon hours are when the high school is in session, so students don’t have any free time then.

When I got there, I was surprised to see that all of the computers had been set up on new tables (with keyboard trays!), and there were new chairs (on wheels! that rotate!). Unfortunately, all of the cables had been disconnected in this process, so we spent some time plugging everything back in. Two power strips were missing, which meant that we couldn’t turn on all of the computers at the same time. I knew that one of the computers wasn’t working – I need to call someone to have it fixed – but two others turned out to be malfunctioning as well. I may need to reinstall Windows on one, and the other is having some sort of display problem. The computer used by the administrators also needs to be set up (again) for student use.

The teacher and I then started with the students, and I was surprised (again!) by how much the teacher knew and how well he was able to keep up with the material. We went through some hardware basics, and they turned on their computers and logged in, after which we covered some basic desktop stuff. They also opened up a game of Solitaire, and we talked about the parts of a window. They played Solitaire for a while to practice their mouse skills, and then – the fuse melted. I suspected it hadn’t been replaced before this, judging by the scorch marks, but it actually melting through just confirmed those suspicions. We had to stop, even though the power was still on, because all the computers go through the UPS, which wasn’t being charged since the fuse was broken. This should be fixed relatively soon, because the administrators need to use the computers on a regular basis.

The school’s landline also hasn’t been working for a few days, so I wasn’t able to look for and test the 16-port ethernet switch. I didn’t see the speakerphone, either. I need to go to the school while it’s in session to meet with the principal and locate some of this stuff. I’m also trying to find a way to go over the whole curriculum with the teacher, so that he’s not just working off the cuff. That method is fine for the simple material, but once it gets more complicated, we’re going to need to do some advance prep.