Four students from IIT, Bruce Baikie, and I will be traveling to Haiti and carrying out a site survey visit in Lascahobas, Haiti, January 3-7, 2011.
Our plan is to land in Port-au-Prince Monday evening, spend Tuesday in the capital, meeting in person with as many people as we can, from the engineering students that have been interning/working with Guy Serge on the OLPC project, to the head of the EFACAP (teacher-training) schools that are taking a leading role in the OLPC project in Haiti, to contacts we have from the US who are doing fantastic work in Haiti (including from Inveneo), to retail sellers of solar and other hardware equipment. These are important contacts for us to make in order for our future trips to run smoothly, and to establish a line of more assured communication between Haiti and Chicago during the interim months when the teams are working long-distance from each other.
Above are pictures from the Prince Hotel, our home base in Port-au-Prince.
Early Wednesday morning, we should depart for Lascahobas, where we will meet with the principals of the local primary schools and the local OLPC staff, and we will decide which school will be the first we will focus on for our pilot—although it is my hope that eventually we will be able to install our solar solution at all three schools that have been placed on the preliminary list.
We will also do our best to carry out a needs assessment and baseline site survey of demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the schools’ population and of Lascahobas—as much as we can. We will also be doing the engineering site survey of the schools in question, determining whether the schools’ roofs can handle the weight of the solar panels, the angle of the sun vis-à-vis the roofs, where the batteries and charge controllers will be stored, etc. We also hope to speak to as many principals and teachers as we can about what they envision for use of the OLPCs in their classrooms, and to set up plans and methods for communicating with them for after we leave—this is an important goal for our IPRO class: facilitating communication between our Chicago group and those working in Haiti, and also between the groups working in Haiti.
I’m excited about the four students making the trip: Annie, Dhara, Jacob, and Simon. Two of them have been to Haiti before, and the other two will be in the IPRO class in the next semester, and so will be able to transfer the knowledge they gain on the trip to the rest of the team on a daily basis. They are all extremely capable and enthusiastic, and I’m looking forward to working with them!
We leave in two days: updates to come!