In the eastern part of Guatemala, lays a school by the name of Ak’Tenamit.
Ak’Tenamit serves as a boarding school for students in grades 7-12, and is one of the newest members of the CoEd Computer Centers Program. With the addition of new computer equipment, they will now provide technology training to 558 students!
Now on the surface, this may sound like any other computer delivery and installation we’ve done before. But this one was special…
It would require boat rides, steep hills, and a lot of help. But luckily, our program staff was up for the challenge!
The journey to Livingston, Guatemala, the home of the Ak’Tenamit school, began at 8 a.m. with a 45 minute boat ride.
“It’s the only place where we’ve not been able to arrive with the team via land, since to access this school, you must take a boat from Rio Dulce in Izabal to Livingston, which is where the school is located,” our Computer Centers Program Coordinator, Miguel recalled about the delivery.
Upon arrival, the boat and our program staff were greeted by dozens of smiling students and teachers at the dock!
And then it was time to unload the boat…
“From the place where the boat drops you off to where the lab is, is a 25 minute walk up a hill,” Miguel mentioned. “The students helped us a lot in getting the equipment unloaded and the wheelbarrow up the hill. It was very tiring to unload everything but it was a great workout,” Miguel joked.
One aspect of this school that’s different from many of our other Computer Center communities is that they use solar energy to power their equipment! Without standard electricity, a traditional model of desktop equipment would not work for this school. Instead, Ak’Tenamit received 25 laptops with a charging cart to house the equipment. (Fun fact: the empty charging cart weighed about 100 lbs. Imagine pushing that up a hill!)
Once all the equipment made the hike from the boat to the computer lab, “we were met by technology teachers who helped us get the equipment out and set up. It took us about five hours to do the whole configuration and installation process,” Miguel remembered.
After a long day, Miguel and the Computer Program team left Ak’Tenamit to head home. “We returned to Rio Dulce with the great satisfaction of knowing that we had done a good job,” Miguel said.
The students were beaming with excitement from receiving their new laptops.
This computer delivery to Ak’Tenamit was quite the journey, but it was well worth it! Now, over 550 students will have the opportunity to take part in technology classes and have a better chance at breaking the cycle of poverty once and for all.
I know Ak tenemit well and have done three grants there. How well are the solar charging stations going to work? Maintaining things there are a big challenge. Do you have provisiones in your funding for additional batteries?
Great questions, Bruce! At Ak’Tenamit, the school has a central solar panel system (which converts into 220 volts AC) that provides traditional electricity to all areas of the complex, rather than multiple solar charging stations. In this case, the laptop cart and the Computer Center as a whole will receive electricity from the main solar power supply to charge the laptops and power the rest of the computer lab. As for replacing the laptop batteries when they become old or break, this will be funded through the sustainable revolving fund that the community saves money through as a part of the Computer Program.