May 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm 3 comments

A really short post, as I’m leaving for the embassy to get visas.

A new post over at OLPC News courtesy of yours truly! The underlying theme: HELP (s’il vous plaît).

We met with OLPC LCDC (the DC learning club) last night. These guys are awesome; I can’t really put it into words. Incredibly helpful, with tons of knowledge and expertise to spare. We’ll continue to be in contact / involved with them, as well as OLPC News, during the deployment; keep your eyes open for cross-posts and unique analysis over there.

Days left before we leave for Kigali: 8. Days needed: about 100.

For all my panic, I don’t think we’re hugely underprepared, except we are. I don’t think I could ever feel prepared enough for this, and I don’t think we could ever be prepared enough. I’m trying to learn all I can, particularly on teacher training. I’m not the techiest person on my team, and I feel hugely lacking there – but that’s fortunately the benefit of a team: you don’t have to be good at everything. I’m focusing on pedagogy, teacher training, and cultural “stuff”.

Je suis la seule francophone de l’équipe, et je ne suis pas très bien. J’étudias la langue depuis sept ans, mais je n’ai pas de grande vocabulaire technique, et je deviens nerveux quand je parle aux autres. Nous verrons comment je ferrai. J’ai entendu bien des «podcasts» (je ne sais pas le mot juste) en français pour améliorer mes compétences écoutants. Zut alors.
(I’m the only French-speaker on the team, and I’m not very good. I’ve studied the language for 7 years, but I lack a decent technical vocabulary, and I get nervous when I talk to others. We’ll see how I do. I’ve been listening to a lot of French podcasts to improve my listening skills.)

We’re hopefully going to have a professional solar install, or possibly grid energy. Either would be awesome, but I am not so optimistic it will be in place when we get there. Again: we’ll see.

I’ll post a revised schedule of our in-country timeline later. I know it is essentially meaningless, as there will be 800 issues, problems, or changes once we get there. No matter – as one of my professors always said, “It’s not the plan; it’s the planning.” (Note that this aphorism was generally in regard to national security decision-making, so its applicability is dubious.)

To the Malagasy* embassy!

*the denonym is Malagasy. There’s no such word as “Madagascarian” or any variation thereof.


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T-10 And…we’re almost off.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kaçandre Bourdelais  |  May 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Tu pourras pratiquer ton français avec Doudou et moi pendant la formation à Kigali. Néanmoins, je crois que le malgache est également beaucoup parlé à Madagascar.

    I didn’t translate my comment to make you practice.

    I’ll practice my English in Kigali.

    If you have any problem with documents in French, you can always contact me.

    See you soon


  • 2. FOKO Madagascar  |  May 29, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Guys, please let me know how to email you directly. We at FOKO Madagascar would love to get in touch with you, one of us is based in Washington DC and we could meet before your departure, we also have a team on the ground there, and another of our founders, Lova Rakotomalala, will be there during June mainframe so let us join forces. Our work is mainly digital literacy and citizen media. We can work together !

  • 3. Kate  |  May 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Merci Kaçandre ! Nous practiquerons les langues à Kigali.
    FOKO, I’ve emailed you!


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This is the OLPCorps team from GWU and UMD. We'll be deploying 100 laptops to a rural village in Madagascar this summer. Stay updated by subscribing to our feed and checking back regularly. For more information on what we're doing, use the tabs above!
May 2009
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