Field Work: A Much Needed City Break

The school year is ending in India, and so at our affordable learning centre, we had a digital exhibition as a wrap up for the students and their teachers.  It was honestly something quite special to see little kids -  who didn’t really have a grasp on English - quite excited to show off what they’ve been participating in the last couple of months.  

The kids picked a video that they learned from on the Lenovo tablets, and showed worksheets that they’d successfully completed in English on the video’s content.  Parents and community members came, and the kids were showing these adults their videos, how they used the tablets, and what the content was. 

This went off quite successfully, and even the headmaster from a local school came to check it out, and gave us compliments.  Even though I don’t work full time in the field, it always gives me a renewed sense of perspective and motivation to be face to face with the end result of work.  

I even rode a bike (or I guess as we call it in East Africa, boda boda) in the style we used to do it in Uganda, squeezing two other people on it!  If you really tried hard, you could fit a third person, or maybe a little kid. 

Kamaal, the centre manager for Malavalli (pictured driving the boda), took us to a local healthcare worker training college in town.  We spoke with one of the principals of the centre about creating a digital library for the community, and if there was a market for this kind of thing.  After we talked a bit, the principal asked if we wanted to talk to the students.  Of course we agreed, and before I knew what was going on, I was pulled up on stage in front of a classroom of about 40 young adults. 

When this situation arises - and it almost invariably does - you just have to go with it.  So I asked them to please help us research this digital library, and then hopped off as quickly as I could.  Sometimes I wonder if there is at all some value in having a foreigner show up and present to the class, like a status enhancement or something of the sort.

Impromptu speech completed, we headed back to the centre to finish our work.  Malavalli is really quite a pretty little place - the food is great, especially at our favorite restaurant, Spicy Daba’s.  The farmland surrounding the area is lush and filled with rice and sugar cane.  It’s a great way to escape from the city for a little bit and reset your perspective.