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Little Davey Project – Panama 2016
Rod and Sherry Boyd

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016

It was wonderful to have David and Deborah Kaiser and the Little Davey Project team back with us in Panama in May for their 2016 campaign. This is their sixth trip to Panama and eleventh overall. Since 2005 Little Davey Project has placed 400 computers in dozens of labs throughout Panama, and another 335 in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. (See Computers for Schools for details and reports).

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Little Davey is committed to bridging the technology gap that exists in Latin America. Most of our schools can’t readily afford to purchase equipment and condition a computer lab. So Little Davey helps poor kids learn computer! We’ve discovered that teaching two specialized subjects – computer and English – significantly improves future earnings potential.

Six schools were chosen to receive computers this year. The Monte de Sion (Mt. Zion), Oasis de Paz (Oasis of Peace) and the La Vid Verdadera (True Vine) Good Shepherd Schools are all located in the greater Panama City area. Three schools are located along the Pan American Highway. The Aguadulce Good Shepherd School is located about 2-1/2 hours out of Panama City. The David and Doleguita Good Shepherd Schools in David, six hours from Panama City near the Costa Rican border. Three schools had received Little Davey computers in previous years. But three other schools were receiving computers for the first time.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016As is customary, the team arrived on a Friday night and started to work building 75 computers on Saturday morning. The team brings the smaller components – motherboards/processors, memory chips and hard drives – in their carry-on luggage. We purchased the larger components in country – case, monitor, keyboard and mouse. We also purchase one UPS battery back-up unit for every two computers and one DVD-RW drive to be installed in one computer for each lab.

After arriving to our cramped office, the team inventoried the components and was organized into one of the work stations. Work began immediately at station one, imaging the hard drives with Windows 10 and Office Professional 2016. Station two began preparing the case, stalling the motherboard and memory, and connecting wires and cables. Station three started each computer to personalize and activate Windows 10 and Office. Station four installed the hard drive, boxed each computer and gathered the monitors, keyboards, mice, UPS unit and other supplies that would be needed for deployment to each school. In addition, network cables were made according to the dimensions of each lab and where each computer would be located. Little Davey Project - Panama 2016

We realized halfway through the day on Saturday that we would not be able to complete all 75 computers. The First Start (station two) was taking nearly twice as much time per computer due to the new Windows 10 operating system. The decision was made to return after dinner on Saturday to advance the work. Amazingly, we finished all 75 by 10:00 PM.

Sunday was a fun day with a tour of the Panama Canal, visit to Old Panama, lunch at the Boyds and attending church at the Panama International Church.

Computer deliveries and installations were planned for Monday through Thursday. Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Three schools would receive 15 computers each and the three others 10 each. Each school also received five soccer balls, compliments of Nike Panama. Classroom visits were planned for each school. These short visits help to reinforce English as well as exchange culture. However, it was testing week in the schools. Even so, team members found opportunities to hug and visit with children… and pass out candy! Each installation finished with a dedication ceremony that included prayer and thanksgiving.

Monday morning, we delivered 15 computers to the Monte de Sion Good Shepherd School. In 2009, Little Davey jumped start the computer lab and program in this school. It was notable how this lab had grown. The 15 computers we added doubled the size of this computer lab! We took a slight detour on our way to lunch to visit the building site of the new Latin America Resource and Training Center. Little Davey Project - Panama 2016The Little Davey Team have been steady prayer partners in our search of property and now construction. After a quick lunch out, we returned to the office to prepare for Tuesday’s deployments.

Tuesday morning, we delivered 10 computers to the True Vine Good Shepherd School. This school is a small, fairly new school, located in a poor community with high unemployment. Apparently, it is also dangerous there since we had two policemen with us at the school the whole time we were there. This was a brand new computer lab. They didn’t even have enough tables and had to go find one for the last two computers. After set-up was completed, the children of the school presented a traditional dance program for the team.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Little Davey Project - Panama 2016

We then traveled to the Oasis of Peace Good Shepherd School. Our dear friends Alexis and Ariela are the pastors and directors of this school. Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Recently, they have added their son and daughter and families to the ministry team. Our 10 computers were added to another 10, doubling the size of the computer lat. After installation and classroom visits were complete, we gathered to dedicate the new equipment. After we prayed for them, Abraham, school pastor and son of Alexis and Ariela, prayed a powerful prayer over the team. It was a moving experience having known this young since he was a boy.

We were happy to have fellow missionaries Miguel and Mari Morales helping with the computer deployments at the first three schools. Miguel and Mari work with us in our office and serve as assistant directors of the ministry.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Wednesday morning early, the team checked out of their hotel and arrived to the office to load up the equipment for the final three schools. Fellow missionary Kirk Jones joined us for the trip, helping transport equipment and set up labs. We drove 2-1/2 hours to the Aguadulce Good Shepherd School, Wednesday’s deployment. This is where it all started with Little Davey (see Aldo’s Story). Little Davey provided 10 computers to the Aguadulce school in 2012. It was both amazing and gratifying to see that all 10 computers were still in service! Now we were adding 15 more to provide a full lab for the school. When finished, the room was full, wall to wall, with computers! After the dedication ceremony the school prepared a delicious chicken and arroz con pollo lunch for the team. After lunch we traveled another 3 hours plus to David and checked into the hotel.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Thursday morning, we traveled the short distance to the David Good Shepherd School. The David school is the second oldest Good Shepherd School in Panama, opened in 1985. It is a large school with nearly 500 students. Students helped to carry components to a new third floor section added above the school. The rooms were brand new. So new, that they hadn’t been able to install an air conditioner. This was our warmest installation! The school did an exceptional job preparing the lab with cabling and furniture. The 15 computers were providing the first half of what would be the new secondary section computer lab.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016We traveled across town to the Doleguita Good Shepherd School. We discovered that torrential rains had revealed leaks in the existing computer lab and they were working to prepare the new lab. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to set up the lab. Instead, the 10 new computers and components were safely stored in the pastor’s office. The school agreed to a 30-day timetable to finish the remodeling work. Then our assistant would return to set up the lab.  Even thought the team didn't set up the lab, they thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the children and teachers.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016[Note: Unfortunately, the Doleguita school, after completing the remodel work in the new computer room and hooking up the five existing computers, discovered that their electrical system would not be able to handle the 10 new computers. The decision was made to transfer these computers to the David school across town. This allowed them to complete the new lab with 25 brand new computers.]

It was a long return trip to Panama on Thursday afternoon, checking into the same hotel and enjoying dinner in the hotel restaurant. The tired team enjoyed visiting about our school experiences of the week.

Little Davey Project - Panama 2016Friday morning, the team departed.

Thank you, David and Deborah, for loving us and for your “long haul” vision for helping children and young people in Panama and throughout Latin America to have a better chance for a better life. And thank you, Linda, Karen, Jan, Sue, Jack and Virginia, for your friendship and commitment. We can’t imagine our lives without our friends at the Little Davey Project!