Monday, August 10, 2015

Skype with America

A Sykpe call with a group of younger students from the Village Learning Place in Baltimore was a highlight of TechKobwa this year.

The Village Learning Place is an independent non profit that facilitates educational programs, enrichment opportunities and informational resources for the people of Baltimore City. The LINK (Let's Invest in Neighborhood Kids) Summer program is a full day academic program for over 100 youth from pre-K to 6th grade, designed to prevent summer learning loss and inspire creativity.

Jill Muth, a teacher at the Village Learning Place had been a PCV in Rwanda.  She had reached out to Rusty about a cultural exchange between America and Rwanda.  It fit perfectly with the goals of TechKobwa.

So 60 students, 10 teachers, and other volunteers all crowded into the larger of the two computer labs at IPCR West to “Sykpe with America” on Monday, August 10 at 5:00 pm  (Central Africa Time Zone).

The excitement both in Baltimore and in Rwanda was palpable!  Jill’s class greeted us with a big “Muraho” and then began bouncing around the room, vying for air time.  Jill’s students had prepared presentations about different aspects of Baltimore culture:  Food, dress, music, etc.  Try explaining “lobsters” to 60 Rwandan students, or “do do” to a handful of excited elementary-school students from Baltimore.   The Baltimore students had prepared a dance, which we enjoyed tremendously.  

In return, the TechKobwa students gave a heartfelt rendition of the TechKobwa cheer for the entertainment of the Baltimore group.

The quality of the display was not great—too much movement for Skype to keep up with.  But sound quality was good and the entire interchange was delightful!  This activity is certainly something we will want to repeat in the future.

After the call, TechKobwa students had many questions about the technology and how they could use it.

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