It is 7.30 in the evening and I’m reflecting on my thoughts in a Fijian Bure. At this motel the bure is built in the centre of the complex. A bure is a traditional Fijian house. It is very nice but unfortunately they are just too many mosquitoes. So as I dodge and squash the mosquitoes I will keep talking to my voice recorder. So far the going has been good. Mr Adam Taylor one of the teachers at the school, built the first robot. He teamed up with the Head Teacher (Mr Sashi Kumar) to build.
I also ran a Windows Movie Maker session for teachers. The attendance was quite good. Ideally it would have been good if I had spent blocks of time with the teachers. In this way we could have got stuck into some serious work. However, the most feasible option is for me to interact with the teachers after-school. So what we do is focus on one technology for about 45 min after the school finishes. Teachers give up their time to participate and the enthusiasm of some of the teachers creates a very positive working environment.
There are some issues which are starting to emerge. The library seems to be running out of working space. This library block is 8 m x 8 m. With our focus on books and computers space becomes a limiting factor. But as US President Eisenhower said “do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – I guess we are doing just that. As for the computers loading software does take a fair bit of time. I think in future I will try and organise this before I come across. Some of the batteries in the laptops are not holding charge – this is expected with second hand laptops. The design of the room is also an issue. There are 2 power points on opposite walls. With only one power outlet in each, the challenge of connecting 12 laptops is understandable. Perhaps a power board with six outlets in each could be a solution. So we have extension cables that seem to be all over the room. There is a workplace health and safety concern here. There is also a problem with the Internet. The library is more than 50 m from the school office. The router which is hardwired to the modem, is in the office. So making a wireless connection to the library is an issue. In terms of the activities that we talked about earlier in the week with the teachers – they all seem to be motivated to engage with them. Looking at the size of the school makes me think that two computer coordinators would be needed for this program to run after we have gone.
The other part of our engagement here that we were not expecting is the interest that has been shown by the community. People have been coming in is a different times of the day with all their praises and best wishes and blessings. The Fijian and Indian people seem to be so welcome at this school. When I was a student here, it was predominantly an Indian school. There were hardly any Fijian students who attended Naidovi even though the Voua village is almost across the road from the school. Today however 40% of the children at the school are Fijians. In my many years of schooling in Fiji, very few of my teachers were Fijians. But at Naidovi, there are Indian and Fijian teachers. It is a very pleasing and a positive change. For a multicultural society this is very important. The decision-makers ought to be commended for encouraging and promoting a move in this direction.