A problem has arisen and it looks like the Nohana teachers will not be attending the January training Tony planned for them. It is still uncertain whether or not the Kokobe teachers will be able to attend.
I had asked the teachers to pay for their own transport and food during training, but the Nohana teachers have just decided that they cannot pay. Knowing that they might not be able to pay the expenses themselves, I also asked Matlabe to submit a proposal to Solon Foundation to pay for their training expenses. (Cecily has already told me she would support such a proposal.) However, Matlabe met with the Nohana School Board, and together they have refused to submit a proposal because they are afraid it will jeopardize their plans to submit a proposal to Solon for new desks.
This is an indication of where Matlabe and the Nohana School Board’s priorities are, and unfortunately, they are not with the computer project.
Part of our original agreement was that the schools would pay a portion of the annual project expenses, and that they would eventually take complete control of the computer project, including funding. If Matlabe, the teachers, and the Nohana School Board are not willing to make any effort, let alone personal sacrifices, to improve their own computer skills so they can help their students, then I see no reason for L2L to pay their share of the expenses.
They are leaning on L2L too much and not doing enough for themselves. It is my opinion that we must stay true to the project’s guiding philosophy. We must let the project’s success or failure rest on their shoulders.
It is not clear yet how the Kokobe teachers will respond to the request to pay their expenses, either out of their own pockets or via a grant proposal. I am hopeful that Alice will work with Florence to submit a proposal to Solon Foundation. Florence is looking into the possibility of holding training just for the Kokobe teachers, possibly in Mohale’s Hoek, with lodging in a school dorm there. It would cost the Kokobe teachers significantly less to travel to Mohale’s Hoek than to Morija or Maseru.
If that does not work out, we will fall back on Plan B. The teachers would submit questions to Florence, then she and Mamatsepe would meet with Tony in Maseru to get his answers to the teachers questions. Tony could also provide them further training on the XO laptops and the school servers, then Florence and Mamatsepe would travel to Ketane and train the teachers there.
Today is my last day as President of Laptops to Lesotho. I have responded to these latest events as I saw best, a continuation of my slow dance of nudging, guiding, reinforcing, and prodding the Lesotho participants to get them to move in the direction I think will ensure their success. As of tomorrow, it will be up to you all whether or not to continue down this path. Whatever course you take, I have faith in you, and I look forward to supporting your efforts in the future.
Best wishes for a happy and fulfilling new year,