Since the influx of kids coming to Toddler House last year we’ve filled up all the rooms in the house. There was a small hallway porch area off the kids’ dining room without windows that we moved all the computer lab laptops into and tried to as best as possible to use this as the computer class. But one by one the used laptops fell into a state of tired disrepair… till we were down to 3 or 4 that would function on a daily basis. We had to shut down the program for lack of equipment and space, putting the computers, headphones, programs, and idea into storage hoping to pull it back out again when we had the resources, but not sure just when that could be.
This February a faithful donor to GLA and uncle to a former GLA angel came to volunteer of his time and talents, spending two weeks with us here at GLA. He spent a good deal of his time up at Fort Jacques constructing the new orphanage buildings, but also checked in at Toddler House, toured the facility, and visited the kids. While Joyce was showing him around she walked him through the “old” computer room, sharing with him how the program had worked in the past and her dream of getting it back up and running. Walter Cain listened with an understanding of the value of an early introduction to to use and comprehension of computers. He walked away from the house that day with a desire to get the program back up and running, but not as it was, to better improve upon it.
The program started 6 years ago as Joyce and her mother purchased 4 refurbished laptops that the kids could set up in class, take turns using, then fold back up to store away when their allotted time was up. As the years progressed gracious individuals sent, carried, and passed along to us their older laptops (or even newer in some cases) and we eventually were able to set up 10 computers. With anything electronic it can get “tired” and this was often the case, to which visiting volunteers with computer skills would spend a day or two (or many) wiping, cleaning, and reinstalling operating systems and programs to the computers as they broke down. In waiting for that skilled person to arrive we might be a month or two without that laptop and would end up with 2 kids sharing a mouse and keyboard, partnering up to complete, typing tutor, or math wizard. The kids always enjoyed their time, however limited it might be, and we felt learned something from it, no matter how frequent or how long we had the equipment and supervision to allow them to use it. Though the inconsistency I am sure proved frustrating to their developing minds.
Walter returned home from GLA with a promise to purchase for the kids 12 new, fully equipped, desktop PC’s.
We were floored.
Not only was he going to provide this huge gift and investment into the kids’ education, the PC’s were not a dream that was far off…
…they were going to arrive in a matter of WEEKS!
Where do we put them? How to secure the location? Tables? Chairs? Electricity to handle the load? A task lay before us.
And God sent ALL the right people at the right time to get it done.
Individuals from three consecutive teams to GLA sweated through hours of hot hard work as Dave led them through ripping out old cupboards, scrubbing, scraping, and painting walls and windows. Adding their own artistic touch they created a cheerful bright look to a very small space with almost zero natural lighting. Brandon custom made desks to utilize maximum space, also wiring in an inverter just for that room to prevent any power surges or other electrical damage to the equipment. The door needed new hinges, the knob needed changed, a ceiling fan put in, curtains made and hung, chairs made and painted, and educational programs to be installed on all the PC’s. Countless individuals sacrificed hours of time and energy into this project and though I cannot mention everyone by name (though I’d love to) THANK YOU from the teachers, and all the kids current and future who will benefit from this perfect learning space. And thank you to the Crossroads team for carrying in the precious, and very heavy, cargo.
This week, yesterday in fact, was the first day.
A small intimidated face peered up into the glossy black monitor. Straight backed, sitting at attention, hands folded in his lap, Dieudonne waited as Dave pushed a button and the inky black screen came to life. He peered in wonder as the “loading” bar dotted across the screen, and a pallet of icons flashed into view. He waited, and he waited. To his right Rilinxe confidently cradled his mouse scrolling across the screen, clicking, moving, exploring the tasks on his display. Dieudonne continued to wait. Johanne peeked over at Eunise watching her movements and mimicking them as she fumbled along. Dieudonne continued to wait, until Dave kneeling beside him explained that in order for the machine to do its work, Dieudonne must give it direction, somewhat hesitantly he lifted his hand to the mouse and fumbled his way through the first swipe of the arrow, the first clip, the first command… 60 minutes later a confident smile lighting his face a proud Dieudonne had mastered that mouse. Now for some typing…:)
How does one say Thank You for such a gift? One that will hold immeasurable positive impact on these little lives and their futures?! With great gratitude and humble hearts we try to say “THANK YOU, WALTER!” For looking at what many would call an unnecessary expense or a waste of resources in a dry and hurting land, and making a dream come to pass, and a essential capability for their future begin to grow.