In February 2012, three members of the IIT Empowering Haiti team made a brief trip to Haiti and to the EFACAP school. The purpose of our trip was threefold: to install some additional (important!) equipment that had not arrived in time for our December trip, to re-wire the system from the fuse-box to the tables, and finally, to check in and see how things are going at the EFACAP school! I’m happy to report that the solar powering system and Internet connection were working just fine at the time of our visit.
The “Mate3 Hub” that we installed will enable us to monitor the solar system remotely—over the Internet. It will show us how much power the system is receiving and discharging every day. Kevin McElhinney, a grad student at CU Boulder who has traveled with our team twice now, is taking the lead on that project, and is already receiving data from the solar system in Lascahobas. We also installed a new-and-improved connector/fuse box that allows each table/charging station to have a separate wiring connection and fuse. Yours truly was very surprised to discover my abilities to assist in re-wiring the system and we actually got it right on the first try! With the help of our rainbow of electrical tape, we color-coded all the wires and connections this time, too.
We also had the opportunity for a long conversation with Mr. Saintil, the EFACAP school’s headmaster. We inquired how the teachers were coming along in their use of the laptops and Internet in the classrooms, as we were very aware that the one-day training session we held in December on these topics was far from sufficient. We were very happy to learn that there are two teachers at the school who have an affinity for computers and using the Internet—which we had noted during the training session—who are taking the initiative and time to train the other teachers individually on how to use the Internet in their teaching. We are so are glad to hear of this ongoing training taking place! There was also a group of men assembled outside Mr. Saintil’s office, and he explained that they were there to work on the water system for the school—that very day! The school was going to host visitors coming to town for the Carnival, staying in the EFACAP dorms, and they knew the water/pumping system needed to be fixed once and for all—great news!
Finally, the contract for a two-year Internet subscription with Voila telecom was officially signed. The service had actually started in December, but we had the opportunity for the official signing ceremony in February.