Local School
Solar Panel to power laptops - which Macalester funded
Charging the laptops
Yeukai Mudzi
Yeukai Mudzi
Introduction of laptops
Local school children

If an American sixth grader is excited to receive a laptop, imagine how much more that computer means to a child in Africa.

Sharing that excitement was among the highlights of the summer for Yeukai Mudzi ’12, an economics major from Zimbabwe. Her three-person team was one of 30 chosen (out of an applicant pool of hundreds) by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to implement a program in 17 African countries.

After being trained in Rwanda, Mudzi’s team of three—made up of herself and two Zimbabwean university students—moved on to the Buhera district of Zimbabwe, where they worked with fifth, sixth, and seventh graders at the Nyamasanga School.

Before the kids could start learning about computers, however, the OLPCorps team needed to buy all the equipment and train the teachers, a process that took weeks.

Getting power for the computers was the biggest challenge of the summer, Mudzi reports. At first they depended on power “from the one solar panel we could afford, which limited us to charging 30 laptops every three hours,” she says, which Macalester paid for. In the last week of the team’s deployment, the Rural Electrification Board installed enough power that all the laptops could be efficiently charged daily and thus incorporated into everyday learning.

Power was also an issue when it came to cooking; many of the team’s meals had to be prepared over a fire.

Mudzi is now back at Macalester for her sophomore year, where she has organized the Macalester Development Group to increase students’ knowledge of and exposure to international development efforts.

As for her own efforts of the past summer, she feels their significance can be captured by this saying: “Though to the world you might be one person, to one person you might be the world.”