After four days of non-stop yakking by yours truly, I am proud to say we have finished with Phase 1 of training for the MGP School I.T. program. There were hitches and glitches yes, but the fulfillment of seeing a room full of people who have never laid hands on a mouse or keyboard, now helping each other register for an email address, that brings tears to one’s eyes.

This is me, a frustrated teacher, finally finding a way to realize my dream. This is 4 schools in as many municipalities in Masbate, who may have a few computers on campus—but hardly any of them working, and none of them connected to the Internet save for one school in the city—finally connecting to the internet. This is several teachers some of whom were over the age of 40, but have hesitated to come near a computer for fear of breaking something. This is more than 40 educators, now directly linked to the immensity of information on the internet.

There are no phones in these municipalities of Masbate, save in the city itself, so there is no DSL in Milagros, or Baleno, or Balud. People have mobile phones yes, but wireless internet has been impossible because of the line-of-sight necessary for antenna-based internet connections. The SmartBro USB Internet device has changed all that.

Just the mere sight of a teacher who had never been near a browser now coaching her fellow teacher, after discovering just how easy it is to find information on the net, on how to enter a URL into the browser’s address bar, is enough to make up for the lack of sleep as Tech Guy Diom Felecia and I assembled tables long into the night. The tables on which the new computer systems rest, and the gas-lift chairs that go with them, are all part of the CSR project, and saw form in our hands. The table assembly was difficult and arduous, but for each drawer that I put together I remembered my father who passed on the love of tools and of making things to me. We, the teachers and I, are parables of Fig trees with a twist—after being fruitless and bare for so long, now thick with new possibilities.

There is triumph in each successful double-click (don’t move the mouse when you double-click), in each right click, a feeling of fulfillment when you have managed to change your desktop wallpaper all on your own. For us who have been around computers since time immemorial, this is trivial, but for someone who has been intimidated by computers but now finds himself master of one, this is a feat worthy of applause.

I am not extolling the virtues of teaching, neither am I pandering to the generosity of companies who have come to our country to extract what it can and then leave when there’s nothing left.

I am celebrating the joy of learning, because for me it is never too late to learn.

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Here are links to related articles about the Corporate Social Responsibility Program of Filminera Resources Corporation:

The long and winding week

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