IESC: Team Halong arrives in Vietnam!

SW upgrade.JPG

Over the last several weeks, our team met virtually several times to discuss logistics and lesson plans for our trip and it was on Sunday night that we had the opportunity to meet our team in person in Hanoi. Our goal for this project is to deploy Intel Classmate PCs to Hanoi Computer Training Center [HCTC], Vinh Phuc and Quang Ninh orphanages in order to give these children greater access to information and technology that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

Tam and Greg upgrading the software on the ClassMate PCs

Our team (Team Halong – “Descending Dragon”) consists of Greg, Nancy, Tam, and Thao from the US, Brian from Ireland, Thuy, Uyen, and Tram from Vietnam, and Tina from China. We are all very excited about the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Vietnamese orphans. For some of our teammates (including myself!), this was their first time in Vietnam. Upon our arrival into Vietnam, were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we became millionaires (one million dong =~$50) and even more impressed by the roads, which are shared by cars, motorbikes carrying goods, bikes, and carts carrying produce from nearby farms. At first glance, the traffic appeared chaotic, where traffic signs and lights are generally ignored, but somehow it works as everyone seems to know what the other drivers intentions are. We arrived at HCTC, where we met Tad Kincaid, director of the NGO Orphan Impact, and his team. HCTC is a recently renovated [this week!] building on the outskirts of Hanoi. The building is a credit to the work of Orphan Impact and will act as a training centre for orphans from around Hanoi. With 12 bedrooms it will be able to house orphans who have come in from distant orpahanages and need overnight accomodation. After shaking off the jet lag, our first priority was to unpack the 20 Classmate PCs, keyboards and computer mice, that the team brought with them. Our first assignment was to upload new software onto the Classmate PCs along with the 10 that Tad already had in order to deploy them at HCTC and at Vinh Phuc and Quang Ninh orphanages. The technical knowledge of the team was tested to the fullest to resolve some technical and software issues. However in true Intel style, we resolved all the issues. Greg was able to call on the knowledge of Bernd Nordhausen who has deployed these PCs before. Bernd saved the day! Meanwhile, our Vietnamese teammates Uyen, Tram, and Thuy translated the lesson plans the team prepared into Vietnamese. They found that some of the English words were difficult to translate into Vietnamese but managed to work around this issue.

Thao, Uyen, Tram, and Thuy translated the lesson plans

Lesson plan trans.JPGTomorrow, Team Halong will travel to Quang Ninh Orphanage, where we’ll teach our first group of 95 children, a third of whom are hearing impaired. We are all looking forward to this and can’t wait to get started! Next stop for Team Halong, Quang Ninh!