My African Refugee IT Students

In spite of my previous comment, I still got certain things completed satisfactorily. So all was not lost.
Particularly enjoyable was my morning Internet class with the African refugees from the Eglinton (Hotel) Hostel. At long last, I finally found a suitable summer venue for the DERI Online Social Networking classes.
The Galway Centre for Independent Living (GCIL) has a fine IT suite.
The lesson went really well. The majority of the participants found that they finally cracked it & they were laughing & giggling. The girls were emailing, setting up communities, surfing, creating their own topics... It was really great and I broke into a permanent smile! Tess (Kenya) was playing the keyboard as if it was a piano; Adenike (Nigeria) was printing out some interesting posters from websites; Catherine (South Africa) sent her first ever email! Magret (Zimbabwe) & Ana (Angola) were flying. Only Miranda (Cameroon) had serious problems- she lost her password and couldn't get into Orkut. But, as I told her, there is always next week.

However I did have one major embarrassment. At the last session, I took photos of all the girls to be inserted this week onto their individual web profiles. But what happens?
Everyone of them came into class with dramatically altered appearances. New hairstyles that made the photos look totally unrecognisable.

But I promised to call out to the hostel next Monday for a new photo shoot. Still the girls were warned not to undertake any major facial surgery for at least another 4 weeks.

I have to say that the OSN classes are making a big difference to the lives of these students. It is helping them break the drudgery of their everyday Galway existence & to enjoy life a lot more. Many of them were previously stuck in the hostel 24/7, not getting a chance to get out and do something productive. Now thanks to the Internet classes, they are making friends at home & abroad as well as learning new practical technological skills.
So next week, our online friend Padraig O'Beaglaioch will help them establish sporting activities. He tells me that he is so exicted about the prospect of helping them organise multi-cultural sport games. But I told him that he always gets that way around women!

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