CMU Project Rwanda

Day 5: Last day with the kids by cmuprojectrwanda
July 9, 2011, 12:58 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

So we woke up at around 7 am today and got ready for our meeting with the students and their parents in the World Relief, which was at 9 am. There were many students and we didn’t expect so many of them to show up. Their parents were there too. The students were given the laptops and they could use them for a while. It was great to see some of them using Tam Tam Jam, when they could actually play games in the laptops. They were dragging and dropping musical instruments and were adding loops to them. We also played “Simon says” with them. At the end, we took group pictures with the students and their parents, I will post them as soon as I reach Qatar.

After that, we took two cabs to the Union Trade Center because we were supposed to meet two students from the Pittsburgh campus. So they joined us and we walked to Zaaffran for lunch. After that we went to Kigali Arts and Crafts shop to get some souvenirs, and from there we took two cabs to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. I read about the genocide before coming here, but I was quite shocked when I saw the pictures and the documentaries about the people who survived the war in the memorial. There were skulls and bones of the people who died during the war, and pictures of people missing who most probably died, too. The worst part was when we went to the section where there were pictures of little children, who died during the war. Its really sad, but after coming out from there I kind of feel proud of us for what we did for the last 3 days for the children here.

So we came to the internet cafe directly from the memorial, and after this we might go for dinner and then return back to the convent. Tonight is our last night in Rwanda. I am going to miss this place 😦

– Humaira

Day 4: Final day of teaching by cmuprojectrwanda
July 8, 2011, 12:58 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

So we woke up at around 6:30 am and were ready for our final day of teaching. We created the lesson plan last night, and were pretty excited in the morning with all the candies and goodies Abhay got for them. We started teaching at 8:15 am, the first two classes were basically what we taught the morning session the previous day. We talked about musical loops, and showed them how to work with Tam Tam Jam.

Day 3: 8 hours of teaching by cmuprojectrwanda
July 7, 2011, 12:07 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

Today was the second day of teaching and its been quite a long day. We had to teach four classes with a 1 hour break in between, so most of us are very tired and can’t wait to get back to the convent.

We reached the school at around 8 am and started teaching at 8:15 am. The first class went very well today. We started with a game as an icebreaker. We took the students outside the class and made them play the iLike game, and I guess that helped a lot with the rest of the class since all of them had fun and were pretty excited about the class. They stopped being shy and were responding better than yesterday. We introduced them to the Tam Tam Jam interface and taught them about loops in music. They now know how to use the application, and to join musical loops to different musical instruments.

The second class wasn’t as good as the first one. We had the same lesson plan for both the classes, but it didn’t work out well with the second class. Most of them had issues with the laptops since they weren’t making any sound, and so they couldn’t follow what we were saying. Some of the students were playing games and it was quite difficult to tell them to stop doing that. Jimmy told us that when there are many applications open at the same time, the sound for Tam Tam stops working, and we have to close everything and restart Tam Tam. We had to do this for most of the laptops and that took away a lot of our time. So we will have to continue with today’s lesson plan tomorrow.

The third and fourth classes were pretty similar to the classes we had on the first day, except that we finished earlier because the students already knew to drag and move the volume and tempo bars. We played SimonSays with them. They were doing somersaults and push ups, so we had a good work out session with them 😛 At the end, we played games with everyone outside and my legs hurt now. We were playing musical chair, and yes, I fell from the chair 😛

It was a good day overall. We just have one more day of teaching left. We are still planning what to do tomorrow since we want a finale, but we don’t have time for that. So… *fingers crossed* 🙂

– Humaira

Day 2: First day of classes by cmuprojectrwanda
July 6, 2011, 12:38 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

So finally we went to the school today and had our first day of classes, and it was amazing! 😀

We reached the school at around 8 am and were walking around, and all of a sudden the school bell rang and little children started running out of their classes. They were heading towards us. In the beginning, they just came and greeted us and were shaking hands, but later the younger ones came and started hugging us and it was so sweet!! 😀 We were all surrounded by them. It was their way of welcoming us and it was really nice.

After that, we had a meeting with the Headmaster of the school and the Ministry of Education, where we told them about our project, and they said we could start from today. And there was a slight change of plans, like we can only teach for 3 days, but for 8 hours (4 classes, 2 hours each) on the last 2 days. We taught for 4 hours today (2 classes) and are very tired, so I can’t even think how the next two days are going to be like. But at the end of the day, it feels great when you know the children are enjoying  your classes, I mean it encourages us more to come back the next day and spend more time with them.

I can’t wait to see the kids again tomorrow. We will be deciding our lesson plans for tomorrow after this.

– Humaira

Day 1: Meeting with OLPC & Ministry Of Education Officials by cmuprojectrwanda
July 5, 2011, 1:16 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

After a really hectic day & NOT ENOUGH SLEEP, we finally headed our way to the OLPC offices after having breakfast in the convent. I was a bit surprised by the warm welcome I received from the OLPC offices from Jimmy, Jean Claude, Pedro and Desire’s(pardon moi french); I quickly realized how greatly they appreciated our presence. We also got to the newer version of the XO (version 1.5) which was not very different from the previous version; hence it was quite easy to use the interface. Since OLPC is now coordinated with the Government of Rwanda; we were facing issues regarding the school to teach; the students that would be taught and getting other requirements such as getting translators, projectors etc. We also had to wait for the call from the Ministry of Education to approve our plans.While waiting for the call (which was about 5 hours), Abhay, Humaira and Hammad came up with the lesson plans for the Tam Tam Session which we were assigned to & Kevin and Haddad were planning out the lessons for the Scratch session. Then, we went over it with Pedro who was giving us suggestions so as to improve the lesson plans and about the necessary changes that should be made. Abhay was also explaining about what was done last year with the lesson plans for Scratch and Tam Tam session. We met three adorable kids hanging around in the OLPC office for laptops.They were hanging around trying out the different applications in the one XO that was left.  It was also cute to see how they eagerly bonded with Kevin and were all smiles, not at all shy. By 2:30 pm, since we were all pretty tired, Kevin and Abhay volunteered to stay behind in the OLPC office and the remaining people headed back to the convent.

By 3:30 pm (finally!) the OLPC guys  finally got the call from the Ministry and Abhay and Kevin had to go through the public van which is a big van for like 10 people and apparently there were 15 people (that must be quite an experience) & then they explained our plans to the Ministry .

We have a major change right now; we wont be teaching the school that was taught last year; instead it will be an English speaking school.

After a fruitful day, there is one thing that’s on my mind…THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING & i m way too excited for tomorrow…!!!

Nabeeha Fatima Haque

Day 1: Waking up by cmuprojectrwanda
July 5, 2011, 1:12 pm
Filed under: CMU Project Rwanda 2.0

After the long yet enjoyable journey, we just got to sleep for around 6 hours (no worries, its part of the experience!!), because we had to be there for breakfast at the convent canteen exactly at 8 am. In spite of not getting enough sleep, everyone was on time for breakfast and were pretty excited about their first day in Rwanda. There were other people at the table too, who came from a service. We were served bread slices, omelet, tea and coffee for breakfast. We also ordered a few bottles of water, and then had a hard time figuring out how to pay for them since 1 USD = 600 RWF, and one bottle was 300 RWF, and all of us had notes of 2000s and 5000s.

After breakfast, we called Jimmy to get us cabs since we had to meet with the OLPC group to discuss the timing of the workshops and the lesson plans for Scratch and Tam Tam. The cabs arrived in around 10-15 minutes, and we got out of our rooms. That was the first time we got to see the convent from outside (since it was dark when we arrived at the convent the day before) and it looked amazing with all the greenery around (pictures will be posted soon!! :D). The weather here is pretty good too.

So we got into our cabs, and headed to the World Relief center where we got to meet with the OLPC members.

– Humaira

I do not have a title, would hello work ? by cmuprojectrwanda
July 5, 2011, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Personal Profiles (2.0)

Hello, My name is Mohammed Al-haddad, student from CMU Qatar.  I study information systems, currently I am a senior student (I am kind of feeling old :P) I have been to Thailand and Vietnam in service trips before. So Rwanda is my first trip to Africa, which made my parents really worried.

So I chose to participate in Rwanda trip, for so many reasons. I would really like to help people first. I would really love to have an impact on the community. I want to learn new things, discover and so much more. I saw Rwanda trip as an exciting opportunity to do so. So I said why I should not do it!