Monday, October 6, 2008

Isn't it Saturday and aren't we in Africa? October 2007, Day 3

Our first day at Refilwe, Jaco with a completely deadpan face, said to us as we were detailing the complexity and timing of our schedule,“did you forget you were in Africa?”
Well, Saturday’s schedule called for an 8am start time. This necessitated bringing 20 children from the hive-like streets of Alexandra, herding them onto a bus and driving for almost an hour. What in heaven’s name were we thinking? Whose brain-baby was that? (Ahem, Micael?)

So, anyhow, everyone eventually showed up by 9:30…eager, well-rested and excited. Even though it was their day off, the adult staff of Noah, who had already survived two days of training with us, doggedly stood behind the children at the keyboards. Goodwill, Nomaza and Melidah patiently guided our future Net Buddies as they hunted and pecked their way through emails, typing games (thanks Shannon!) and webcam chats.

By the end of the day, all the children sat crowded into the little library for our graduation ceremony. After holding up the certificates and showing them the Infinite Family watches, I looked down at Mokodi to see tears streaming down her face even though she was smiling ear to ear. I knelt down and while wiping the tears, asked her why she was crying…and all she could do was laugh and hold onto my skirt.

The children cheered and clapped for one another as each of them came forward to accept their certificate proclaiming them to be official IF Net Buddies and accomplished users of the Ezomndeni Net.
After many photos and hugs, the children climbed aboard their bus and headed back home. But we know, that even though there are computers purchased and a plan in place for installation, we still don’t have enough Net Families for all these children.

Saturday, in your town. Wondering how you’ll get the errands run, the soccer games accomplished and still get the laundry done. Saturday in Africa. Children standing outside a shipping container, looking with longing at a computer screen, a webcam and another child, chatting and laughing with their Net Family.

How about it? A half an hour once or twice a week? It just can’t be that hard to schedule…after all we’re Americans…the ones who schedule 8am trainings for African children from shanty towns!

Pass it on! We’re ready for you!


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