And suddenly here we are, just three days from departure… It’s the usual frantic mix of finishing the planned tasks, dealing with surprises, trying to get equipment where it needs to go, and saying good-byes to our loved ones here. Neal and I also took a few days off last week to make a long-anticipated trip to the island of Palawan. It was nice to have a few days of down time before the final blast of work.
It’s Saturday here, and we’re enjoying a quiet day in the apartment catching up on fun tasks on our respective to-do lists. Me, I’m updating a spreadsheet template that captures and graphs students’ scores for reading comprehension and speed. Neal is writing some Python code to automatically convert the Ubuntu 12.04 teacher accounts to work in the new 16.04 operating system. It’s a nice finale to a very hectic week for Reneal Team Philippines.
We are at the halfway point of this trip to Cebu, and we’ve taken a few days off to rest and recharge for the second half. Our main task this week has been testing the computer hardware generously donated by Aboitiz Equity Ventures (http://aboitiz.com/site/about-us/aboitiz-equity-ventures). We are so grateful to Aboitiz for both their support and their inspiration! Through their own active corporate social responsibility work plus the Aboitiz Foundation, they are heroes in education, the environment, and disaster response here in the Philippines. Reneal IEO is thrilled to be a small part of their philanthropy here. A special thanks to Sir Rogie Abala, Aboitiz Equity Ventures IT wizard, former Aboitiz Foundation employee, and long-time friend, for helping to facilitate this wonderful gift to Reneal!
Suroy-suroy Sugbo… It’s an expression used frequently here in Cebu, and it is always accompanied by a smile. Subgo is the traditional name of Cebu, and “suroy-suroy” means traveling around for pleasure. And that’s what we did this week – our work took us to five different towns as we visited several existing Reneal schools.
It was a week full of happy reunions for us! We headed up to northern Cebu to visit five of the Reneal schools up there. While there’s truly never enough time, we did manage to finish our tasks and even fix an additional unexpected bug. I think we’ve left everyone in good share hardware-wise, and they now have Neal’s new “Manage Classes” program to assist in checking their students’ outputs. A fulfilling week!
After much preparation, we’re finally back in Cebu! It’s great to be here again, and we’re off to a good start. We finished off most of the work at Reneal’s 26th school in the Philippines, Jugan National High School. Next week we’ll head to northern Cebu (a 3-4 hour trip from here) where some of those schools are located to make follow-up visits.
It’s chaotic again here, trying to prepare for our trip to Cebu. Neal is still putting finishing touches on his new class assignment management tool, and I’m trying to get things together for packing. Sir Jade and the boys were at Jugan National High School this week, beginning the new installation. Neal and I will also have a couple of meetings with other non-profits before we go.
It’s been a diverse week here at Reneal IEO headquarters: exciting meetings at Rotary, less exciting end-of-year financial work, and preparation for the upcoming trip to the Philippines. Just a few more days, and we’ll be back in Cebu!
Happy New Year from Reneal! Although Neal and I have been involved in this work for over ten years now, the non-profit corporation of Reneal will celebrate its 5th birthday this year in April. We are so grateful for the support of individuals and corporations that have allowed us to install 25 computer systems in Philippines and 11 computer systems in Tanzania… so far! Looking ahead to 2017, we have much to be thankful for as we plan additional installations in both countries.
Somewhat ironically, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Tanzania this week even though we’re leaving for the Philippines in a month. That’s life in the international non-profit world – things always take time to unfold, so it’s prudent to start early! The good news is that things in the Philippines are coming together well for our visit. Sir Jade, Rhog, and Lloyd will have everything in place by the time Neal and I arrive in Cebu in late January.