This weekend I took another trip out to Amagoro to meet see the new Amagoro library, opened by a joint effort of Kiwimbi Global and the Amagoro city council. The library opened on February 15th, while I was on a trip to Nairobi, and by all accounts has seen heavy traffic ever since.
I set the groundwork to leave a couple Raspberry Pi computers at the library some time after elections; right now they’re still working on getting electricity together. In the meantime I left a Pi with Jevin, the tech-guy for the Elewana project, so that he can become familiar with the system.
I also met with three groups of primary school students, about to take their final exams before going on to secondary school. With all of the groups, I talked about how computers work, and the importance of math and computers to all of the various future occupations they were dreaming about, ranging from nurses to engineers. (One students wants to be a ‘computer wizard’ when he grows up!) Hopefully planting some Pi’s with interesting resources will help some of the students get where they want to be.
I’m especially looking forward to working with graduated secondary students; these students typically have about eight months of idle time while they wait for their high school diplomas and to hear back from universities. Normally, this is just lost time; Elewana will be identifying some promising students, and I’ll give them plenty of things to work on. If it’s a project that works out, it’s easy to imagine dropping Pi’s with promising students on a larger scale, giving an introductory workshop and then leaving them to self-study.
It would be stupidly simple to drop Pi’s into libraries, if libraries were around! But at present, the Amagoro libary is the only public library I know of in Western Kenya. (A quick google search indicates that there should also be at least one public library in Nairobi.) One quickly realizes the importance of public libraries! There’s precious few books available to children to access through their schools, and typically resources within schools are tightly controlled. A space for free reading and exploration would be greatly beneficial to students anywhere.