Wow! It's been a long time since I've done an update - and yet so much has happened!
First of all, we made our visit to Bingerville to check on the internet connection a couple of weeks ago. It ended up with a pretty large group, a mix of students and teachers at my current school library connection - the International Community School of Abidjan (ICSA) and the guys who helped out with networking.
Indeed the computers were all there - but unfortunately the net wasn't working that day. That's not all. One of the computers is down due to a power problem -- those UPS stabilizers we talked about. We really need them. Without them, at any time, the computers are at risk. And the secoond stressor is a lack of air conditioning. We've got to take care of these two problems if we're going to make a go of this. Still, everyone came away from the visit excited, hopeful, and charged up. Ideas were flowing!
What's really exciting is that the students are beginning to embrace the project as their own - they've a new club called (at least for now!) the InfoPros for Peace - their mission, contribute to peace by helping libraries and computer information centers to bloom and grow. The American Library Association said it best in a recent campaign slogan for Banned Books Week - "Free People Read Freely". So today, it's Bingerville, tomorrow the 9 regions of Cote d'Ivoire! (Ok, so maybe we're a little overambitious. But, hey, you gotta start somewhere.
Why not with a grand vision?)
They also had a chance to hear from a UN Representative, who talked about activities for peace, the UN's 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and about the human rights clubs that have been formed by students around the country. It's really been a very exciting next step! We'll see what happens next....
PS: Sorry for lack of pix -- something is up with my computer and I lost them! I'll add one later...