Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 2

During our second week at Shree Lukla School the exam period continued followed by two well deserved holiday days (for pupils) so teachers could mark the exam papers. They were extremely busy marking the exam papers over these two days. School begins as normal on Monday.

During this time we kept busy in the computer room. A summary of our week:

We have eight fully working computers. Three computers in the PC hospital are in a “computer coma”, their power supplies have blown and we will need new ones to revive them. When Guy took the CPU’s apart they were wet inside (likely the reason for the blown power supplies) resulting from the extremely damp room. As expected, we could not save one of the PC’s with a broken motherboard (Capacitor Buzz) and one monitor with no backlight. This CPU has been a donor for parts and we made a super teacher computer with double RAM, disc drives and a backup hard drive.

We now have four computers connected to the internet and networked to share the new colour printer.

In order to repair the comatose computers we will require three standard switching ATX size power supplies - 250 W min.

Dr Guy treats patients in the PC Hospital

 Wet CPU from the damp computer lab
We set to work this week recording some AudioBooks, it was lots of fun and we enjoyed laughing at each other getting nervous and failing to read the story fluently! We feel that this is a great project and that it will be most useful to the school. So far we have finished 11 books that we brought from with us from India – they are really nice as most are relevant to the local area. The books are on a CD and are also accessible as files on each of the computers. So far, we have only found one set of headphones and so more sets will be required to allow groups of children to use this facility at any one time. We hope to continue this project during our time here and will speak with teachers to find out which are the favorite or most useful books to record.

 Recording Audio Books

Continuing with the book theme, we are happy to help out with the new library. While painting is still on hold, Emma set to work logging all of the current books in an EXCEL spreadsheet that should help with getting the library catalogue/borrowing system up and running. She has also completed the computer room displays, the help documents and the local A to Z of Lukla. These are  not yet printed, as a trial print and lamination proved that the paper is too damp to laminate or print neatly...

This coming week we hope to increase our communication with the staff. We had a meeting with all the staff this morning, and a round of "Meero Nam Emma Ho, and with much amusement among the other teachers "Meero Nam Guy Ho". Yep, Guy means Cow in Nepalise. They have expressed an interest in building a school website for Tilak to maintain and keep up to date, and have offered computer classes for any staff. We will unveil the new computer lab to the staff, and help them with setting up personal folders along with printing and using Windows XP/Office.

During our two day weekend holiday, we took a walk to Namche. The weather was perfect and we had wonderful views of Mount Everest. We feel very privileged to be working and living in this beautiful part of the world.

 Weekend Views - Everest and Lhotse (centre)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Volunteer News

This is the new blogspot for information and progress updates about the ongoing projects supported by Classroom in the Clouds at Shree Lukla Primary School.  This blog has been set up by Emma and Guy while volunteering in Lukla.  We hope that it will be of interest and fun to read for all supporters of Classroom in the Clouds and everyone at Shree Lukla Primary School. If anyone has any comments or suggestions for future projects please leave a comment on this site.

Week 1 – Our arrival in Lukla

We arrived in Lukla and were greeted by clouds, rain and more rain – the monsoon is in full swing here.  But through the clouds we could just about see the spectacular mountains and glorious valleys and were very pleased to have the opportunity to be here.

Shree Lukla School

We quickly got to know some of teachers and went to visit the school.  Since our arrival in Lukla has coincided with student exams, our efforts have been concentrated on work in the computer room.  So we set to work tidying, de-moulding the room (unfortunately the monsoon season brings with it many problems with damp), cleaning up the computers.  After one week, one hundred power cuts and crazy uncontrollable power fluctuations (another consequence of all the rain!), we have nine happy computers.  Re-installed with Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2007 and looking neat and tidy.  We have set up one master computer, connected to the new printer/photocopy machine.  Guy also three computers in the “PC hospital”, diagnosis to follow.

Guy tidying computer suite

We see huge potential in the computer suite, the school is very lucky to have this facility.  Therefore we have some plans to increase its usage.  Creating step-by-step user friendly help manuals, making displays to help with basic computer terminology, and hopefully running some help sessions for anyone with an interest in computing (students, teachers and the local community).

Emma with some spectators at the PC hospital!

With functioning computers, Emma has set to work creating some resources for the school and is in the process of photographing local objects for an “A to Z of Lukla” resource, as suggested by Sarah.  The computer manual and displays for the computer room are also in progress.

On Thursday morning we received news that the playground equipment had arrived at Lukla airport.  After exams a weather-brave team of about twenty students commanded by Bikram, the head teacher, headed to the airport to collect the steel structures.  Our photographs tell the story, the rain was pouring and great teamwork and strength got the job done!  All pieces of the playground are now safely at school waiting for a coat of paint.

 Playground arrived at the airport, along with a great monsoon rain!

Construction is now complete in the new library, and it looks like it will be a great asset to the school.  We had plans to commence painting of the library and computer room this week, but due to the dampness the decision has been made to wait for a couple of weeks for things to dry out.
So overall we have had a happy welcoming to the school and a successful week.  We hope that next week, when teaching restarts, we will get more involved in school life and meet more of the teachers.

These boys carrying the slide were most courageous - Well Done