September 25th, 2006

(no subject)

Believe whatever you like:

I was able to overthrow the prime minister in record time and still catch my bus. Now I'm camped out near the border in case I need to retreat into uncontrolled territory.

...or...

The flights were uneventful. The highlight would be that I had a bag with exactly 70.0 lbs of laptops, which is the airline's limit, despite not knowing what the limit was. After "one night in Bangkok" and one day in Pantip Plaza. I was on my way to "Little Burma". I moved into the school immediately, but it has grown substantially since I was last here. Two large new concrete buildings house a dozen classrooms for the 106 orphans who live here, and the additional 250 students who arrive each weekday morning. Many of my old students are here along with most of the teachers. There is a squalid encampment of refugee families around the perimeter. Photos of all of this will be on flickr eventually.

I've spent a few days cleaning machines, reassembling the network, getting internet and wireless together. I'm teaching only a few classes so far, instead focusing on solving more immediate needs. Besides the work here, I've visited 3 of the 50+ other schools in the area to assess their computer situations. One kid at a smaller school seems insanely bright, but has no computer teacher and needs someone to show him new things. A previous volunteer has offered to pay for DSL for a his school for a while, and I expect I will be able to use it to bring him into a virtual classroom as well as pick him up and meet once a week. Another school appears to have been paying for DSL for a while, but only uses the dialup. Everywhere has dead machines from which I salvage parts to resurrect as frankenputers. In a few weeks I'll go inside one of the refugee camps to assess what can be done there.

I feel like a country doctor. Sadly I also get to play one. One school also had a kid with a semi-open sore below his knee. It needs to be drained of puss regularly, but he's going on year 4 without any real treatment. His thigh is swollen and I suspect a persistent infection. Today I met a french doctor who heard I was here, and has asked me to look at her laptop. I will but I intend to barter my services for her to visit to this kid.

I've taught excel to the folks who keep the books, and while writing this every few minutes answer questions about MS Paint, and Photoshop. One of my old students, Chitlay, has become the resident tech, and as much as possible I walk him through all of the computer repairs and keep my hands off. There are already plenty more stories, but its still a bit too hectic to try and explain it all now. As (If?) things settle down I will begin to blog more regularly. I may even get a few students to do so. You can see my (still meager) wiki of class notes at http://maesot.pbwiki.com/classes
 
The short version is that I'm alive. Thanks to all who inqured.