Volunteers Steve and Nicky, great final weeks at La Bastilla

 As we write this final blog, we sit in the computer lab that we set up for this incredible school that has been our home for the past month. The lab represents a large part of our work here and the impact we’ve had on the school. When we arrived, there were only two functional computers for student use and computer classes had to be held in a school twenty minutes walk away. Thanks to a donation drive run by Shannon, a previous volunteer and family friend of Steve’s, we were able to bring six additional computers to the school, enough to set up a full lab for use by the students in their classes and free time.

 We immediately put this lab to work (as we wrote about previously) teaching various computer classes. The computer professor, grateful to not have to hold his classes in a different school, did the same! During the past month, we taught classes on Microsoft Office, programming, and web design. The Office classes focused on everyday, practical uses of computers; for example, students learned how to make flyers and presentations for businesses and how to calculate and graph production quantities and profits in Excel. Computer programming was by far the most complicated class we taught, but a couple students completed all our classes and even successfully wrote a program to find the day of the week given any date.

    Our most popular classes were those about web design. Some students showed an interest from the start, but, as the month went on, new students kept deciding they wanted to learn web design as well, and we ended up teaching the intro classes every week. Quite a number of students (I daresay we’ve lost count) now know how to write HTML to build web pages. Some of the most interested students put in extra time outside of our classes to create their own websites, which you can view here: http://bastilla-sitios-web.host56.com. We’re incredibly proud of them for putting in the effort to create websites, a very useful accomplishment as computers play an increasingly large role in society. We know some of these students will want to keep building web sites and that future students will want to learn to do so as well, so we wrote comprehensive instructions that can be used by teachers and other volunteers to teach future web design classes or by students to remind themselves of the skills they’ve learned.

    Of course, there’s been more to our time here than just classes and computers. The students and teachers are all wonderful people who we’re going to miss. We’ve had a great time playing football with the students, despite the fact that they’re all way better than us. We’ve gone for early morning runs with one of our closest friends here. We had a great time with a teacher over the weekend in his hometown of San Rafael. It’s hard to enumerate everything that has made our time here so wonderful, but after our rounds of firm handshakes and hugs at the ends of our last classes, we know we’re going to miss this school. 





  Hiking in the reserve with the students  

Nicky holding up a rock...   why not come and volunteer at La Bastilla and give him a break?!  







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