The second week of July, we visited all the schools in CREE with the purpose of making sure all the professors had the needed tool to work with the Kolibri program. The mornings were beautiful, on the east, the sun coming up between the mountains and in the west, the fog was disappearing among the hills. Some days the road was wet from the rain the night before, and the air smelled of freshness. While enjoying the green views, in our mind were all the cute faces we were going to see that day.
The professors knew about our visits; however, the kids seemed to be surprised when they saw us. It was a good surprise, they knew were the ones who provided the technological equipment they have in their classrooms. What a joy to imagine that something new was coming to the school. Maybe for us, it was just one more app, a new tablet, or the solution to a technical issue but for the kids, it was the hope of change in their lives. The dictionary lacks a word that fully expresses the kids’ reactions at that moment.
Specifically, in our “Las Marias” school located within the beautiful hills of Santa Lucia near El Salvador the students were using Kolibri, but they did not yet have tablets. The professors had been using their own tablets which allowed the kids to work in groups of up to eight students to do math problems. Likewise, the professors allowed the students to bring their families’ smartphones to use Kolibri on it. Understandably, not all families have the privilege of owning a smartphone. Nevertheless, kids were selfless and shared the phone with three or four other kids.
The pictures they had been sending up to now were so touching that we decided that no matter how late we had to work at night, we wanted to have the 50 tablets with all the applications loaded for that day.
The day arrived, and our heart was full of happiness knowing that the kids were going to finally have their tablets and with much enthusiasm, we packed the tablets carefully. On our way to the school, we were imagining what the kid’s reactions would be and it was not even close to reality. The kids saw us at the gate of the school and we could start hearing murmurs and quiet conversation among them saying, “son los de hombro a hombro y traen una caja” “they are from shoulder to shoulder and are bringing a bin.” None of the kids knew with certainty what was inside of the bin, but they had the feeling that something good was coming. We entered the school and put the bin on a wet unpainted wood bench. The professors greeted us and showed us their new classroom – designated for technology. Even though the professors left the kids working in their classrooms, they did not stay there; all the kids ran to the classroom where we were at. They made a circle around the bin, waiting for us to open it. Slowly, slowly we opened the bin and it is impossible to describe all their facial expressions. They were looking at the small boxes inside of the bin and exchanged looks, but none of them dared to touch the contents. We kept them in suspense and finally said, “We brought your tablets!!” The only phrase that can barely capture their reactions was a smile of hope. They had in their hands a life-changing experience.
For the first time in their lives, they will the privilege of learning math while playing with colored pictures and figures on a tablet. For the first time, they will be listening to someone explain Honduran geography through a video, what an amazing experience!! This is one of the amazing things we get to see every time we visit the schools. These kids now have the privilege of working on their tablets and seeing a completely new world.
Our commitment is to equip schools with this exceptional tool so that these young people can face this world, a world that is full of many challenges, and yet this tool can provide them with an education that will help shield them in the future.