The wind has settled today. “So, are we any closer to an answer?”
Magdalien is walking the XS4ALL team through the Freedom Park township in Ritchie. I ask her. “First people need to clean up their shack and the grounds around it. Make it clean and safe for the children to play. Take care of the invalid, the old and the sick. Organise activities for the children to keep them happy, safe and busy with positive things as a first step to schooling.”
We do not stare but start small conversations left and right. We see deep poverty, happiness, laughter. Beautiful people proudly showing a peach tree they grew, a donkey they raised, harvesting vegetables for a healthy meal. The rubbish is all around. Glass, plastics, diapers, scrapmetal. There is no obvious danger in sight here, but children carrying their own baby hint to the dark side of life in Africa.
“The Courageous” is the group name of the 10 youngsters Eye for Others supports in their advancement from life in Ritchie’s township to a more independant and responsible future. For themselves, but also for the people they grew up with in the township.
It takes a lot of courage to break from poverty, from group pressure to not stick out your neck for change. To associate yourselves to foreigners, to learn things none of your friends understand anything about.
XS4ALL’s Nick and Belinda started the Train-the-Trainer internet program for “The Courageous” yesterday by teaching them how to train others. This morning Belinda and Eric switched on the newly installed PC’s for lessons on how to educate themselves on the internet. Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, sending an email rather than just chatting on social media.
This second training day was supposed to end at 2pm. At 3pm “The Courageous” were still so full of energy. So eager to learn all they possibly could of this wonderfull new OnLine world. Their drive was heartwarming. This was what we hoped for.
In the meantime Tirza installed the new camera security system on the Ritchie Eye for Others Community Development Center. Ton and Paul travelled 550km for a one hour meeting with Albies Wireless, the ISP supplying internet to Ritchie to discuss their possible further involvement with the project. Lisa and Nick prepared tomorrow’s training.
We feel great about this day. We feel we set a small yet very positive step towards Internet4Ritchie.