Saucitlán de Morelos is a community of about 500 people located in a valley about 12 km southwest of Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, Mexico.
The final road to Saucitlán is unpaved and steep in many places. We’ve had fun traveling there on the back of pickup trucks and have encountered burros, goats, chickens and other farm life!
In 2011, the primary school in Saucitlan, Escuela Manuel Gonzalez Gatica, received fifteen computers donated by a bank. We initially set up the computer lab in May 2011 with five Kids on Computers volunteers who traveled to Huajuapan de León along with local volunteers. When we got there, we discovered that the computers the school had received didn’t have hard drives! After discussing at length, we opted to use LTSP. We took four computers with hard drives and used them as servers with the computers without hard drives as clients and completed installation and configuration.
To maintain this type of setup requires having strong local technical support. Additionally, many of these computers were over 10 years old. When we came back during our 2014 KOC Mexico trip, the lab was non-functional. We realized that an LTSP setup in a remote region with little technical support would not work.
We used funds we received from our 2013 Fundraising drive to purchase five new computers, one projector, and five headphones for this lab. We used the four computers which had hard drives and made them stand alone desktops. We were also able to bring in 4 additional used computers along with two Mac Minis to make for a total of fifteen working computers. All of the computers were installed with Lubuntu 14.04, Libre Office, Tux Suite, GCompris Suite, and many other applications. The Mac Minis and one new computer were also installed with the RACHEL content server which includes offline Wikipedia, Khan Academy videos, MedLine content, and more. All of the computers could access this content via a local network we set up. We decided to put 12 of the computers in the school and use 3 in the library so that kids and parents could benefit from the computers outside of school time. The computers without hard drives were decommissioned.
We taught one class to mothers who came to visit the school (and give us lunch!). They loved playing Tux Type and Paint and trying out Libre Office. We had one teacher who spent two hours watching Khan Academy videos and reading Wikipedia articles. The kids enjoyed playing Tux Math and any game they found on the computer. The principal, Saul, and the whole community are so thankful for the new lab and excited to have a working lab which is easy to maintain.
This lab was made possible by a donation from Philip Greenspun, PhD in honor of his grandfather, Daniel “Nick” Gittes of Melrose, Massachusetts, 1902-2000.