Tag Archive for 'games'

Deaf Games 2010

First off, you can all rest assured that I have not died of an eye infection, nor have I been held for ransom in any of the countries I listed in my vacation plans.  Rather, my infection went away with some eye drops, and my vacation plans have changed so as to disclude DRC, so the latter is less likely to happen.

Last week was the annual Deaf Games competition.  You may remember my frustrations with this event last year.  This year was better, though.  It was held at a different school where we never ran out of water, and I didn’t need to pack a big group of volunteers into my tiny house.  Also, I’m more confident in my sign language, so I was able to roam around more and interact with students without embarrassment.

The games were held in Mtwapa, which is a seedy roadside town of clubs and prostitutes about a half hour north from Mombasa.  The school is about a half hour walk from the road, though, so it’s in a more comfortable village setting, closer to the ocean.

So, without further ado, a photo tour of the games:

Here’s one of my vocational students chasing after the ball.  My vocational boys played against the nearby secondary school boys.

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Here’s a girl mimicking my camera use:

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A boy enjoying the free water:

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The scoreboard: Mombasa didn’t do so well at Track and Field.  I used to run track, and I can relate to the feeling.

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A thumbs-up from one of my class 3 art students:

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One of the runners who fainted mid-race.  It’s a painful thing to see a person faint while running.  When it happened to one of my students, I ran and bought a bottled water, since they’re not normally given water in the first aid tent.

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The “obstacle course” (three-legged race, water-pouring competition, and potato sack race):

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This girl is one of the regulars who uses the computers in the evenings:

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An ostrich.  It’s a long story:

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Here are students dipping their hands right into the water source.  Many teachers and students got upset stomachs (AKA Crippling diarrhea) in the last few days of the competitions, no doubt due to poopy hands in the drinking water:

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A race:

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Here are the “micros:” students with Microcephaly.  I think there were five at the host school who would hang out during the games.  It’s a fascinating condition: all of their heads are small, but only some of the boys were verbal and had other bodies that were proportionate to their heads.  Other boys could not communicate at all and would mostly just drool and get angry and scream at people who were not nice to them.  They seem to be generally mistreated (I looked on as a headmaster from a visiting school shove one onto the ground hard) so the Micros seemed to latch on to me and the other volunteers, since we were nice to them.  They would often sit alongside us, drool and smile.

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Some of my school’s all-stars and my counterpart:

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Pilau (rice and potato) dinner, a real treat!  This boy is one of the adamant ones who normally comes to my house to insist I open the library at night:

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My counterpart in the truly beautiful dorms where the male teachers slept:

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Unloading the mattresses from the school bus in the background:

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The ride to the games.  Were the school that brought Pink Eye with us, which spread like a wildfire once we arrived.  Notice the teacher in the foreground with the sunglasses, trying to keep the infection from spreading:

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And on the of cute little students we left behind, who stayed and waited for her parents:

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It was a good time in general, but mostly for the kids.  I had good company with the other volunteers, but mostly the whole multi-day event consists of sitting around, which can be a bit boring.  Imagine a four-day track meet as an observer and you might get the idea.

I was a little affected by seeing one of the Micros pushed over by one of the headmasters, and I must admit it did put my into a sour mood.  It’s a different world here in so many ways, and that was a striking example of it.

I’ll probably be leaving home on Wednesday for my vacation.  I’ll try to update a bit on the road, but stay tuned to see if that really happens.  I also won’t put these photos or the others onto the Pics page until I get back.  Happy Easter!

3 Responses to “Deaf Games 2010”


  • haha i loved ur pictures and picture comments very funny. i liked the kid drinking from the hose:) did not like the fainting picture as it was concerning that no one appeard to think it was a big deal. Surprised u didnt get pink eye and diarreah! good work 🙂

  • Hi,are you willing to help me, a graduate student in University of Minnesota, understand the electrical needs of the people in Kenya?

  • what was the record for actually staying within the raft? thanks for sharing. beautiful pix

Solar on the Brain

So after about 72 hours with no power, it’s back on!  This is the longest I’ve been without electricity since I’ve been in Mombasa, and I really missed having fans near my bed.  As a result, it was also the first time since I’ve been in Kenya that I set up my solar equipment to charge my phone and my laptop!

On a seemingly unrelated note, I’m probably going to head up to Lamu (the closest I’ll probably ever get to Somalia) soon, to help set up software at another volunteer’s school’s computer lab, which is completely solar powered!

These two things got me thinking that I should write a bit about my solar setup, since when I put it all together before leaving for Kenya, it was nearly impossible to find good practical info on how to run a laptop off of a solar kit that fits in a backpack.  Anyhow, if you’re at all curious, there’s now a “Solar Laptop” link at the top of the blog.  With any luck people will find it as useful as the “Kenyan Phone Tricks” page.

And an unrelated picture for your pleasure: from yesterday’s “Lion’s Games,” where various “Special Schools” compete at a racetrack, our school sat beside a large group of blind students—an odd pairing, for sure, with communication between students virtually impossible!

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I just finished FUZOMA 1.3!

I’ve updated my page on educational software accordingly.

I tried in this version to address the most common question about FUZOMA: “Why do I need to make a floppy disk just to use it?”

So, starting with version 1.3, the FUZOMA page also has instructions and downloads for making bootable CDs, USB sticks, and good-old fashioned hard drive installs.  This is pretty significant, as it makes the software much more accessible to all sorts of computers, from 486s to MacBook Pros.  I’m not aware of any other educational software project that can make such a claim.

I did create a problem for myself with this version, though.  As I found and added better math activities, I ended up with 29 activities total, but there are only 27 icons on FUZOMA’s menu.  I never thought I’d run into this problem… 29 activities that fit on a floppy disk!  I refuse to make a confusing multi-layer menu for the kids.  To address this, I made 2 of them “bonus” activities, meaning that they launch only after you play some other more educational activity first.

The most popular bonus activity by far is Super Worms 3D Racing, which lets two kids get on each computer and race against each other.  It’s cute enough for the girls to like it and the boys will like anything that lets them shoot each other.  The kids can only play the bonus game if they first solve math problems in Super Worms Math Arena.  Both programs are courtesy of Wiering Software, who also sells an improved version of the racing game.  Mike Wiering was kind enough to modify Math Arena to make the “Bonus Activity” concept work so well and to provide a smaller version of 3D Racing that takes up less room on a floppy disk.

The kids love the split screen action (and they tolerate the math required to get to it)!  Check out the pics:

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0 Responses to “I just finished FUZOMA 1.3!”