Good morning Marj and Gary,
Hope you are both doing well and enjoying your weekend. We have a couple of updates for you regarding Education is Power.
We are excited to report that, as of this morning, the Bahia Honda Bahia Roja communities and all its residents have access to high speed internet. As you are aware, the project took longer than expected. We ran into a variety of obstacles along the way, in addition to the general difficulties of operating under quarantine restrictions. We eventually had to install two repeater stations between Red Frog Marina and the final receiving radio at the Bahia Roja school in order to establish a solid connection. As a result, the electrical work required was also more involved than expected. Still, we were able to stay on budget, spending a total of $545.78 on materials, equipment, and labor.
Although we would have liked to accomplish this quicker, the timing turned out to be excellent. This week, MEDUCA (National Board of Education) will be distributing electronic tablets to all public school students, including those in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda. This means that all the schoolchildren of Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda will now be able to use tablets to connect to the new internet and continue their school work. This will be a tremendous improvement over the situation just a couple of weeks ago, when most students in the local communities had neither devices nor internet connection to access online class materials and were falling behind.
Through Education is Power’s funding, the youngest students in the Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda indigenous community now have access to the same world of online information as do children in the most developed countries around the world. That is remarkable. University students will no longer have to pay to take boats into town, or struggle with weak cell signal, just to download and complete course materials on their phones. As a bonus, we were able to install outlets and lighting in each of the Bahia Roja classrooms with the same panel that feeds the internet router. These are truly wonderful improvements, and the community is so thankful for them.
We completed the most recent round of sponsorship disbursements during this past week. It is increasingly clear to us how important these funds are for the students and their families, and perhaps now more than ever. For some students, the EIP funds represent the difference between having access to education with online course material, and being completely disconnected from their schools. With the rest of the economy paralyzed, it is likely that most of the EIP sponsored University students would have had to stop their classes if it were not for this program. Despite the darkness and rain on the latest distribution day, everyone was in high spirits and immensely grateful for the continued support. Were it not for coronavirus, there would have certainly been a few hugs!
Sebastian and Aaron