Mutoko

Mutoko is a rural town approximately 135 km north east of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, and relatively close to the border with Mozambique. Occasionally made dangerous by marauding elephants and faced with many of the serious diseases that are so prevalent throughout the African continent, Mutoko, nonetheless, has a vibrancy and spirit all its own

Nowhere is this vitality more evident than in its schools. Motoko High School has a population of 600 plus students, many of whom actually live at the school during the term, wash their own clothes, and even grow some of their own food. Education is free up to the age of 10 or 11; however, if a student is to have the opportunity of attending high school, the parents must pay fees to cover all costs, usually a huge hardship. Resources such as texts, reference materials, and school supplies are understandably very scarce. However, in 1995 two Delta, BC, teachers sent a shipment of textbooks, and in the process, established a relationship that has led to this pilot project.

The goal of this project was to install computers into Mutoko High School, provide access to the worldwide web, and link these African students with their Canadian counterparts.

The first seven computers, refurbished and loaded with donated software, arrived in July 1999. Since then more computers have been readied for transport, while in Zimbabwe a line has been installed to carry the signal and a contract negotiated with Zimbabwe Online to provide Internet access. All that remains is for the installer to make the connections - as soon as the flood waters subside and the petrol shortage eases. Meanwhile, at Seaquam High School in Delta, students are looking forward to communicating with their peers in Mutoko. Initially, a select number of Seaquam students from grades 8 through 11 will go online, beginning with questions related to cultural differences and similarities. They will then share the answers they r eceive with their respective classes. Finally this information will provide a basis for further discussion as well as generate better questions and ideas to share with the Motoko students.

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