Mahavilachchiya – day two

Yesterday was the second day of the FOSS-ed on Wheels at Mahavilachchiya.

The kids were some of the brightest I’ve met and they pick things up in a flash. The night before, I did a programming primer to a group of lads and lasses, 18 years old on average. The girls outnumbered the guys by a scary margin, approximately 10 girls and 2 guys. References to Ada Lovelace and Grace Mary Hopper were made in the hope of striking an inspiration. We can begin to hope for better gender distribution in the coming years for IT.

Woke up in the morning feeling a little stiff, but a bit of photographing around the perimeter did the trick. I brought T’s D50 with me, along with the 10x zoom lens and the array of filters, and that’s always fun to play around with.

Had a session with the younger kids in the afternoon and my voice kept getting drowned by the patter of rain on the roof. Like a cornered prey, I decided to do the rest of the talk in the middle of the room surrounded by the kids. That was an experience. We talked about how computers spoke to each other. This was the first time I got in front of such a young crowd and it was an enlightening experience.

While wrapping up, seven (or eight) year old Asela came over to shake my hand and say goodbye. That was probably the hightlight of the show, and made everything worth it.

This FOSS-ed has been a unique experience for me, and very different from the other FOSS-eds I’ve been involved with. I think it’s a good trend that FOSS is moving away from Colombo to places where it really matter. The future looks bright.

Also, I must commend the effort of Wanni which I think is phenomenally successful. We need more like him to do what he has done in other places with the same level of selflessness and dedication. For those who might not know, Nandasiri Wanninayaka (aka Wanni) is the founder of the Horizon Lanka Foundation.

Update: Some photographs from the event can be found here and here.

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One thought on “Mahavilachchiya – day two

  1. Anuradha,

    Thanks for all the positive comments about our project. We hope to see you guys more often in Mahavilachchiya. Hope your buddies also will be inspired by your posting here and line up to teach the kids in Mahavilachchiya. Mind you, all the work done here in Mahavilachchiya without a proper computer teacher!!!! I am not a techie and I just learnt stuff through Help Menu. Our kids need professionals like you to broaden their horizons. Wanni

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