We scheduled our distribution day to fit with the end of teacher training. As a team we agreed to have Fridays off to serve as a reset button and a way to reorganize and discuss any upcoming events or topics specifically related to OLPC. As such Thursday July 9th served as the end of teacher training and we would distribute the XO’s on the following Monday July 13th.
Sunday July 12, 2009 was the celebration of 34 years of Sao Tome independence, we learned about it Thursday after teacher training, but it didn’t register in our mind that our distribution day would follow a large country wide celebration. We woke up at 7:00 to make sure we were up and running Monday morning at 8am (which was the time we told the headmaster to have the kids there by). We made it to school at 7:45 and set up the rooms for the distribution only to find about 4 janitors and 1 kid there. 8am came around and no one was there so we decided it would be better to delay the distribution until Tuesday. The next day we had expected a few children to show, but we ended up with about 48 children coming in to get the XO’s.
We had composed a contract for the children and parents to sign stating that they would come to trainings and would also agree to not sell the XO’s. Tuesday about 7 parents showed up to sign the contracts, we were eager to see if the children would bring the XO’s back after we had given them full ownership over the summer. We had originally scheduled for XO training to be a 4 week task, the distribution days took somewhat longer than we expected so the training my end up being shorter than we had planned for.
Some of the parents were not able to write their names so we had them write an X…surprisingly one parent had to have their child write what an X looked like. This surprised me and made me think about the prospects of the XO in bringing knowledge to children as well as their parents. This strongly lamented OLPC’s principle of child ownership and made me rethink our proposal. Although we had talked numerous times about the way things should be there is always a better plan under circumstance we could have come up with.