Providing Lesotho's Children with Keys to the World

This is the story of our efforts to end the vicious cycle of poverty, disease, inadequate education, and early death
in a remote rural community in Lesotho, Africa, by providing quality education and life skills
to the young children there. Join us on our journey ...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review

My wonderful son, Craig, was born in Lesotho.  He loves to give unique and thoughtful gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc.  He did not disappoint me on my birthday.  Knowing my continued interest in Lesotho, he took the time to find books with Lesotho as the setting.

The first book I read was The Mountain School written by Peace Corps Volunteer Greg Alder.  Peace Corps Volunteers have a unique perspective on village life as they live as the Basotho do.  The author helped me experience what it is really like to live in the village of Tsoeneng.  I found his writing insightful, and it helped me get to know the characters in his book.  He was respectful of the culture and helped me experience life first hand in a Lesotho village.  The book was engaging and well written.  You can read more reviews and purchase it as an e-book on Amazon.

The other two books are Singing Away the Hunger, an autobiography by Mpho ‘M’ Atsep Nthunya, and Basali!: Stories by and about women in Lesotho. The books are on my nightstand and will be devoured over the Christmas break.

Sala hantle,


Monday, October 27, 2014

Proposed Budget for 2015

L2L Treasurer Vicki Panhuise and President Janissa Balcomb held an informal budget meeting on October 26th to draw up a draft budget for 2015, to present to the Board at their next meeting.
Here are the seven primary items L2L hopes to fund in 2015 --
  • Lesson Development and Software Licenses ($250)
  • Teacher & Student Training at Kokobe and Nohana Primary Schools ($7000)
  • Phase I of Project Expansion at Pela Tsoeu ($3524)
    • Evaluation,
    • Community Organization,
    • Leadership Development and Mentoring,
    • Limited Initial Hardware and Software Deployment, and
    • Introductory Teacher and Student Training
  • Volunteer Stipend, Expenses, & Training ($3576)
  • Hardware Repair and Replacement (from normal use) at Kokobe and Nohana ($2940)
    • deep-cycle solar power system batteries
    • laptop batteries, screens, keyboards, motherboards, replacement laptops
  • Shipment of donated laptops from Pueblo West High School to Lesotho ($1300)
  • Miscellaneous expenses ($300)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Going Global? The Growing Movement to Let Kids Learn Just by Tinkering

Leslie Engle Young was at a schoolhouse in Agorhome, Ghana, surrounded by a room full of mystified fifth graders. None of them had ever used a computer or surfed the internet, and yet, Young had just handed out a stack of tablet computers, asking them to answer a few basic questions using these mysterious devices.

"The kids had no idea what was going on," she remembers. "The first girl who touched the tablet, I had to hold her finger to get her to touch it, because she was scared it was going to shock her."

Then, something happened that delighted and amazed Young: with no instruction whatsoever, the students started figuring it out. "It was instantaneous," she says. "They opened the browser, saw the empty bar at the top, and everyone just clicks on it. Then they're like 'Oh, there's a keyboard,' and started typing. It's like: 'How did you figure that out?'" By the end of a few hours, the students were presenting the new knowledge they'd acquired all on their own, using devices they'd never seen before.

Young is the director of impact for Pencils of Promise, a New York City non-profit that has built nearly 250 schools across Ghana, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Laos. Last month, Pencils of Promise began experimenting with an emerging style of teaching called the self-organized learning environment, or SOLE. In a SOLE classroom, rather than lecturing students, teachers pose a question and let them use technology and curiosity to arrive at an answer. It's a method designed to encourage critical thinking and knowledge retention.

The SOLE model didn't begin with Pencils of Promise. It's based on the theories, which WIRED explored in-depth last fall, of Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University. But Pencils of Promise is poised to take this growing movement a step further.

Rather than lecturing students, teachers pose a question and let them use technology and curiosity to arrive at an answer.

In 1999, Mitra launched a highly publicized experiment called Hole-in-the-Wall, in which he placed a computer in the middle of a New Delhi slum, and watched to see if kids could teach themselves to use it. They could, and they did. Mitra then parlayed that success into the creation of School in the Cloud, a set of schools based on the SOLE model. He argued that if students could use technology to take a more active role in their own education, they'd learn a lot more than they do in a standard classroom. Last year, Mitra won the $1 million TED Prize to bring the School in the Cloud to life.

Since then, the concept of child-led, technology-enabled education has flowered and is being tested in schools from New Jersey to Ghana. Other organizations like the X Prize are catching on, too. The non-profit recently launched its Global Learning X Prize, offering up $15 million in prize money for software that kids could use to teach themselves. Now, with Pencils of Promise on board, the SOLE model could potentially scale exponentially across its hundreds of schools. That is, if the Ghana pilot works.

Young says Pencils of Promise will be studying the two pilots in Ghana for at least the next six months, with help from a Newcastle University researcher. They'll track metrics like literacy and numeracy rates, but they'll also monitor student attendance to see if the SOLE really does keep kids more engaged, as well as its impact on students' critical thinking skills. If all goes well, the team plans to develop what Young calls "SOLE-in-a-box," that comes complete with tablets, a Wifi connection, and any other materials a teacher would need to run a SOLE.

It's important to note, however, that Pencils of Promise hasn't adopted Mitra's entire model, which entails essentially eliminating teachers and replacing them with technology. Technology, Young believes, can never replace a teacher. Instead, Pencils of Promise is teaching educators how to run a SOLE classroom for, perhaps, a few hours a week. That way, Young explains, the SOLE becomes just another part of the teacher's toolbox.

"We think teachers are really the answer to getting systemic change," she says. "They might teach 25 kids this year, another 25 next year, and so on and so on. If we can fundamentally change the way teachers are trained and supported then we would have a whole different education system."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome Henk Boshoff - New L2L President

With our president, Janissa Balcomb, stepping down we are excited that board member, Henk Boshoff, has agree to take on the presidency for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2015.  Janissa has worked very hard to turn over a strong program when she steps down.  We wish her the best, and we are very happy that she will continue with L2L, only in a different role.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

L2L 2014 Trip Supports Student Learning

If furthering the mission of L2L was the goal for the 2014 trip to Lesotho, the trip was a success.  The village of Kokobe and its elementary school was the destination for the L2L team.  Another breathtakingly beautiful setting in the mountains of Lesotho awaited the volunteers.  Travel was arduous and accommodations were basic.  The enthusiasm of both students and teachers was infectious and made the trip well worth it.

Students were introduced to the use of a mouse and headsets.  Janissa had used the Scratch program to create some fun lessons to help students manipulate the mouse.  The training involved lessons that were tied to the math curricula. Evenings were spent writing lessons for the next day’s classes. The lessons were designed to help students’ problem solving skills.  Students were engaged in the lessons and both U.S. and Basotho teachers helped students with the day’s lesson.


Students were trained on how to set up the solar panels and set up the computers in the classroom.  This was an important step in developing long-term sustainability.  L2L president had the following to say about pacing for the project.

“We may not see a significant impact until the current first graders graduate

 or even until the next generation.  We are trying to make major changes in

the way people learn and think.  That takes time.  We have to be very

patient and keep plugging away at this.”


“One thing about our philosophy and approach is that we have to go at the pace

of the local participants, and we have to accept that delays or even outright

failures will happen.  That has to be part of their learning and growing process.

Part of learning to succeed is discovering that things aren’t always easy and that

failure is a possibility if you don’t try hard enough.  We as an organization have

to let the local participants succeed or fail based on their own investment in and

leadership of the project.  Then we have to mentor them in ways to overcome any

failures or setbacks.”

Kokobe teachers were left with the tools to help support their math curriculum with the XO Laptops.  With the project’s goal to develop long-term sustainability, the ball is now in their court.

                                                                   2014 Team

Note From The President

After 5 1/2 years as founder and head of Laptops to Lesotho (L2L), I will
be stepping down at the end of this year and shifting my focus to lesson
development. As a result, L2L is searching for someone to take over and
lead L2L into the future.

We are looking for someone who is familiar with Lesotho and has experience
working with Basotho.  Though we are based in the U.S., the president doesn't
necessarily have to be someone in the U.S.

We have a board member in Pretoria, South Africa, who is reluctantly willing
to act as Interim President, if necessary, until we can find someone who
will serve a full 3-year term.

In Lesotho, we currently have a native project leader, project
coordinator, and volunteer.  We also have seven directors in the U.S. and
South Africa and over 2 dozen part-time volunteers in 4 countries. Two of
the volunteers are handling fundraising, so that sometimes onerous task
would not necessarily be a part of the president’s duties.

As we are an all-volunteer organization, the presidency is a unpaid
volunteer position.

The president would primarily serve as a figurehead, leader, and
motivator, keeping the organization true to our founding philosophy and
approach, as well as acting as a liaison with our Basotho participants and
overseeing all project operations.

The L2L philosophy is to mentor, train, and encourage Basotho leadership,
with community involvement and investment in the project before the
schools or students receive any benefits, and to give Basotho control of
project design and daily operations.

L2L is currently supporting educational work at two schools in
Lesotho, serving nearly 600 students.  We are looking to expand to a
third school sometime in 2016, with groundwork being laid in 2015.

I plan to stay active on the Board, so I will be available to offer
support and guidance, if needed, as the new president gets familiar with
our work.

If you are interested in applying for the president's position, contact me

Janissa Balcomb

Laptops to Lesotho Video

Want to learn more about Laptops to Lesotho?

Click HERE for a short YouTube video.


X Prize Pledges $15M for Software That Lets Children Teach Themselves

The X PRIZE Foundation, the brainchild of entrepreneur and futurist Peter Diamandis, is already working on everything from sending people to the moon, to cleaning up our oceans, to developing a real life Star Trek tricorder. And on Monday, the venerable non-profit announced another ambitious goal. It wants to bootstrap technology that will let the world's children teach themselves to read and write.

The newly launched Global Learning X PRIZE is offering up $15 million to fund open source software that can remake education in the developing world. Ideally, Diamandis says, the X PRIZE team is looking for software that is artificially intelligent, so it can better understand how students learn and what their interests are, in order to keep them more engaged in their education.

"This 200-year-old industrial age educational system that we all grew up in, in which we all sit in a classroom, the bell rings, and like cogs in a wheel, we change classrooms? Inevitably, half the students are lost, and half are bored," Diamandis told WIRED on Monday at the Social Good Summit in New York City, where the new prize was announced. "The question is: How do you change that so it's personalized education? That's possible, and that's the goal."

'We're aiming at kids who live in villages where there's nothing. This has to take them from complete illiteracy to basic reading, writing and numeracy.'

As Diamandis admits, there's no shortage of technological innovation in education these days. The last few years have given birth to models like the massively open online course, which promises to give an elite global education to anyone online for free. But as important as this technology may be, he says, it often "assumes a higher state of learning than exists." "If you don't have the basics of education, you don't know how to use the web and don't know how to type in a URL," he says. "We're aiming at kids who live in villages where there's nothing. This has to take them from complete illiteracy to basic reading, writing and numeracy."

Teams will have six months to register, after which they'll have 18 months to build their software. "It could be teams from Microsoft and Google or two kids in a garage from Nairobi," he says.

Then, the foundation will test those technologies with children throughout Africa, and it is now raising money through crowdfunding to expand that test from 5,000 kids to 10,000. Once the winning team is chosen, Diamandis says he plans to work with companies like Google, Samsung, HTC, and other device manufacturers to ensure the software is integrated into all of their new phones and tablets.

"I want to make this software available for every tablet and smartphone out there," Diamandis says. "Imagine that when someone gets a tablet in the future, it will become their teacher, as well."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

September 30 Travel Update

"The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the potential risks of traveling to Lesotho due to ongoing security concerns. After review of current security conditions, the U.S. Department of State lifted the ordered departure status of non-working eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in Maseru. The U.S. Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho is open for normal services. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on September 18, 2014."

Visit the Department of State website for more information.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Travel Update

The latest travel advisory (9/18/2014) from the Dept. of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Lesotho at this time due to continued concerns regarding the security situation.  If you would like to read more about the conflict in Lesotho and background information visit Think Africa Press.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Travel to Lesotho

The Dept. of State warns U.S. citizens to deter travel to Lesotho at this time due to concerns over a possible detioration of the security situation in Lesotho. For more information visit

Monday, September 1, 2014

Board Expanding

Laptops to Lesotho is fortunate to bring on board Fortunate Gunzo. Fortunate is a PhD candidate in ICT in Education at Rhodes University located in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her research interests are in ICT for development, computers in teaching and learning, and computers in rural areas.  Prior to her becoming a board member, Fortunate served as a volunteer since 2010. She helped with logistics and support for volunteer's visits to Lesotho. She also worked with teacher training and grant writing.  In her new role she will focus on lesson development aligned with the Lesotho curriculum as well as teacher training.

Lesotho's Coup Crisis

According to the Bloomberg News, Lesotho was left in political limbo after the prime minister and head of the armed forces fled to neighboring South Africa following what they said was an attempted military coup.
South African President Jacob Zuma convened emergency talks in a bid to resolve the crisis and met today with Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his deputy and rival Mothetjoa Metsing, said Clayson Monyela, a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Thabane fled the mountain kingdom on Aug. 30, saying the army tried to overthrow him. The military claimed it disarmed police officers who threatened to destabilize the nation. Lesotho has been run by a three-party coalition government since elections two years ago. In June, Thabane suspended parliament until February, a move opposed by other coalition partners.
“Metsing has assumed control over the government and he is likely to end the parliamentary suspension and form a new coalition” with former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress party within a month, Robert Besseling, principal analyst at IHS Country Risk in London, said in e-mailed comments.
Maseru, the capital, was calm today and there was no sign of uniformed police officers or soldiers on the streets. Police stations and courts in the capital were closed.
Metsing said the army’s seizure of the police headquarters was a misunderstanding between the two institutions and not a coup.
                                                                  Reprinted from the Bloomberg News

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Great Nonprofits

Laptops to Lesotho (L2L) is registered with Great Nonprofits, a group that compiles and verifies information about nonprofit organizations.  Their website provides people like you the opportunity to write personal reviews of nonprofit organizations like L2L.
These reviews are very important.  They give people who might like to know more about what we do the chance to read insights from people who have donated to, volunteer for, or are otherwise familiar with our project.  That helps them judge our impact and decide whether or not to support our work.
You can read previous reviews of L2L, or write your own review at and enter Laptops to Lesotho.

Meeting of Board of Directors

Board of Directors Meeting

On August 2 the Board of Directors met spanning four different time zones and two continents.  With few technical difficulties Skype worked well to bring all board members together.

Goals were discussed, both long and short-term. Members were in a consensus that our short term goal is to stay focused on what we’ve been doing and make it stronger.  This includes strengthening people’s skills and creating a library of lessons.  Long-term goals include growth of the project.  The board agreed that we will look into implementing a project at the primary school in Pela Tsoeu, in the Leribe District. The location was selected because of its proximity to technical support from South Africa, and ease of volunteers’ travel to and from the school. No date was set to initiate the project there, but we will start looking into acquiring funding for project implementation.

Vicki provided a financial report.  More financial action includes follow up with the New York Rotary Club to continue receiving promised grant funding, organization of older financial records,  and developing a new budget.

Henk will work with Florence to get the servers operational.  He will follow up with Tony Anderson, who originally designed and set up the school servers, to get the passwords and work on server connections and documentation. 

Sherrie gave a summary of the status of the FIPE student scholars.  The results for most of the students have been disappointing.  FIPE will reduce the number of scholarships and concentrate on supporting further education of the successful scholars.  Sherrie is working with Florence and Fortunate to improve communication with the school principal.

Pueblo West High School donated Dell laptops to Matlabe’s school.  Discussion involved the cost of shipping the laptops and the logistics involved.  Sherrie will work with Matlabe regarding shipping the laptops.

There was a discussion about the need for more fundraising.  It was agreed that we need to recruit more people who can focus on fundraising and grant writing.  It was suggested that our funding requests should be targeted and project-based, as most of our fundraising has been in the past.

In order to increase publicity the following tasks were agreed upon: A Laptops to Lesotho (L2L) LinkedIn page, NGO Pulse, update the L2L Facebook page, increasing blog posts and updating the L2L website.

Regarding lessons there was a discussion about the continuing need to acquire better educational materials for the XO laptops.  Most software on the laptops is not sufficient for classroom use and/or is not easy for the teachers to use.  We need to get more lessons in a format that is easy for the teachers to use and doesn’t require additional time investment from then.  We also need lessons that students can use on their own.  Henk mentioned that Edubuntu could be investigated as a possible platform.

This is an abbreviated version of the minutes.  Next meeting to be held Saturday, October 11, 2014

Two new members join Laptops to Lesotho Board

With a growing board to help lead Laptops to Lesotho into the future, we welcome Vicki Panhuise and Kathy Plath to the board. 

Vicki, who currently resides in the Phoenix, AZ area, is owner and President of VePoint Consulting Group LLC.  She has substantial aerospace general management experience.  Her expertise includes managing global organization to support customers worldwide.  We welcome her as Treasurer of Laptops to Lesotho.

Kathy is a media specialist in an elementary school in Pueblo, CO.  She loves teaching technology classes to her students. She was fortunate to have spent two years in Lesotho, and welcomes this opportunity to help further the education of young people in Lesotho through her work with Laptops to Lesotho.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Filing For Tax-Exempt Status

IRS Makes Applying for Tax-exempt Status Easier for Small Organizations
The Internal Revenue Service today introduced a new, shorter application form, Form 1023-EZ, to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily. Most organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less are eligible.

The change will allow the IRS to speed the approval process for smaller groups and free up resources to review applications from larger, more complex organizations while reducing the application backlog. 

The new 1023-EZ form must be filed on
, accompanied by a $400 user fee. The instructions include an eligibility checklist that organizations must complete before filing the form.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Laptops to Lesotho Elects New Board Member

Henk Boshoff was recently elected as a new director of Laptops to Lesotho.  Henk is a tech company owner from Pretoria, South Africa.  He is a strong supporter of the Laptops to Lesotho philosophy and approach.

Henk and his engineers will be getting involved in getting the servers at Kokobe and Nohana up and running.  He will also work with training those involved with using the servers.  This alone has the potential to vastly improve the effectiveness of the project by making computer use at the schools easier and more productive.

In addition, he is very interested in seeing L2L expand. His advice will be invaluable in choosing the best hardware and software options.  He has worked with the Linux open source operating system, Edubuntu, and would handle installation of it and any educational software to the computers.

Affordable internet access at the schools is something he would like to see happen.  Another interest is finding ways to develop entrepreneurial endeavors with community members and students using laptops and internet communications to establish local businesses.

Welcome to Laptops to Lesotho.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

eBook Distribution Solutions Emerge from Africa

Article re-posted from

There is great demand for eBooks in emerging markets however the demand for eTextbooks is even greater. Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, China and Brazil are struggling to gain access to eTextbooks in their classrooms and universities. The societal factors of some of these countries require easy-to-use solutions that are also scalable and specifically designed for these markets.

The spotlight will be on the London Book Fair during the upcoming days, one of the largest book fairs in the UK. South African startup, Snapplify, has been attending the London Book Fair since they launched in 2011 and has signed leading local and international publishers. The company has been working on new digital publishing models for high growth emerging markets and has recently given a stronger focus to the academic market. This year the London Book Fair has dedicated an entire stream to Education, with multiple seminars focusing on Academic publishing. Snapplify has extensive experience providing digital publishing solutions to education publishers, particularly those expanding into emerging markets via digital textbooks, a topic currently under extensive research by the Snapplify team.

The company has recently launched their Academic eReader which is being used by Macmillan Education. The eReader allows users to make notes, highlights and annotations on their eBooks which is associated to their individual profiles. Snapplify stores all actions made by students in secure cloud servers allowing students to safely access their eBooks on any device using their unique login details. This solution has been widely accepted in African countries where students are sharing devices and cannot afford to own individual ones.

There is a great demand to enable the distribution of eTextbooks to emerging markets where bandwidth and internet connectivity are strained and inconsistent however solutions to these problems are currently being solved in Africa by caching data at institutions and supporting offline reading capabilities. It is fundamentally important to build solutions to solve problems in emerging markets especially where literacy rates are low and access to education is difficult. The state of the academic eBook industry in South Africa has not been critically measured until now. A research paper which will soon be released by the Snapplify team will analyse the adoption rate of eBooks in schools and universities and will go onto expose major obstacles to mass adoption.

[07 Apr 2014 12:27]

Friday, May 2, 2014

Is the One Laptop Per Child Model Still Relevant in 2014?

The views expressed in this re-post from 
Educational Technology Debate 
are not necessarily those of 
Laptops to Lesotho Inc.
Join us for the Educational Technology Debate 

Is the One Laptop Per Child Model Still Relevant in 2014?


A decade ago, Nicholas Negroponte burst into the imagination of educators and technologies worldwide with a brilliant vision of every child in the developing world using a laptop to learn learning. At the time, this was a revolutionary idea, and it brought forth a seemingly endless stream of commentary, hype, and announcements of countries planning massive one computer per child programs.

Since then, the bright idea has run into the realities of technology change, inertia, and innovation, and while the One Laptop Per Child organization continues, no longer are there major announcements of deployments or even a groundswell of excitement around it. Which begs the question: Is the One Laptop Per Child model still relevant?

OLPC vs. 1:1
Now I think we can all agree that there are two models at play here. There is the concept of one laptop per student and the concept of one device per student, regardless of its form factor. While the primacy of the laptop versus the tablet or mobile phone can be debated (and should be), the reality is that we have entered the era where one educational ICT tool per student is an accepted practice.

That doesn’t mean that 1:1 saturation of devices is proven, or is actually the best practice to pursue, but that’s certainly the route that many politicians and parents want. And that brings us to what I think is the larger question: should we be aiming for 1:1?

1:1 vs. 1:Many
In our headlong rush to try and provide computing devices for every student, and with Nicholas Negroponte asking if we would suppose that children share pencils, I wonder just why we believe we need to have a 1:1 ratio of technology tools per student. To Negroponte’s point, yes, there are many schools where children must share pencils, or pencil supply is by parental purchase only, resigning some students to share pencils as a normal course of their school day.

If we are still working to support educational systems to provide the basics, like even teachers or pencils, might we also dial back our expectations of ICT investments? What exactly is wrong with using low-cost projectors so an entire class can learn from one computer?

Teacher vs. Student ICT

Or what about starting with ICT infrastructure for teacher professional development and school administration? In fact, isn’t the low-hanging fruit of ICT4E getting teachers to post grades, get support, and even simply report on attendance levels through mobile phones a great advancement in many countries? Just paying teachers regularly and on time via mobile money would arguably increase learning outcomes as much as laptop deployments.

School level educational management systems, reporting real-time data up to national administrators and out to classroom teachers, would revolutionize education and reveal the great flaws in current practices faster and more transparently that student-centered technology.
Not as flashy or exciting, for sure, but I argue, much, much more effective than one anything per child.

But enough of my rambling, what is your opinion? Do share your thoughts in comments or email us a Guest Post answering questions like these:
  • Is the OLPC model still valid?
  • Do schools still need one laptop per student?
  • Or is computing hardware now totally ubiquitous?
  • Is it time to again focus on curriculum, content, and pedagogy?
  • And can we finally remember the teachers? 
 OLPC News

4228 4th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Generous Donation from the Keller Family

Karl Keller, Rebecca Keller Mondore, Sara Lee Keller,
Cindy Keller Barton, Vicki Keller Panhuise, Kent Keller
Laptops to Lesotho received a very generous Christmas donation, made in the name of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Marge and George Keller, and Marge Keller's sister, Mary Dewar.  The donation was made in memory of Marge (Dewar) & George Keller, and Ruth (Dewar) & Bob Balcomb. 

Dewar Sisters:  Ruth Balcomb, Marge Keller, Mary Dewar

Bob & Ruth Balcomb
Marge, George, Ruth, and Bob would be very proud of your generosity and would rejoice in your support of our work to provide a better education to the children of Lesotho.  Thank you so much! 
- Janissa Balcomb

Update from Tony in Maseru

I got the following email from Tony Anderson today.  He has been in Maseru the past week working with Florence Monoto.  It sounds like they have accomplished a lot in a short period of time.   In addition to the progress listed in this email, he also conducted training with five teachers from Ketane.   Thanks Tony and Florence for all your hard work for Laptops to Lesotho!
With help from Florence, we have been able to collect the Journal logs from all but one laptop. Laptop K36 has a bad screen (defect covers right half of screen).  It looks like the laptops were used throughout the year.

The Kokobe school server has all of the software. I am loading the content on the Nohana server at the moment. This will probably take most of the night (it seems to take about 14 hours for 800GB).

The primary remaining problem is to install a Flash player that Firefox 26 and the Browse activity recognize. Sugar has gnash installed which they see as a flash plugin but which does not work.

Ole Nepal has solved the problem but, unfortunately, only for the XO-4. They are still using 0.82 for the XO-1s. They also incorporate the changes in the build not by a post-install script as I am doing. I'll keep working with them until it is resolved.

The Pustakalaya library works (including the global map, full English Wikipedia plus the Simple English plus the Wiki4Schools, and Gutenberg collection). Khan Academy Lite works and includes the Khan Academy videos. These play although the IIAB versions don't - go figure. Old Time Radio works including mp3 but Talk English (also mp3) doesn't. Wiktionary works.

I installed the Learn activity because there were some problems with Browse and some of the new content. Actually, I think Firefox and Browse are on similar footing now. However, the Learn activity does allow the milestones to be downloaded. I don't have that implemented in the Browse version yet. This means that Kokobe and Nohana will have the same content as last year plus all the new stuff.

Florence will need to flash the laptops at Kokobe and Nohana when she goes. She spent most of yesterday learning the procedure.

We visited the electric store yesterday but our guy wasn't there. They have a 100w panel for 2500M which should do the job. Florence has the business card and can get the panel before leaving for Ketane.

Essentially, I think we did everything on the list (a first!). There will be some update opportunities for you when you go, especially enabling EPaath. I certainly hope and expect to have that under control by ScaleX12.

- Janissa