Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chuuk, formerly known as Truk

We rejoined the Island Hopper for the short flight to Chuuk. During World War II, Americans knew this island as Truk, the main Japanese naval base for the Western Pacific. It has a huge lagoon, with lots of islands in it. This is unlike Pohnpei, which has one major island and a few small ones.

Chuuk is having a hard time. Weno, the island with the airport on it, has a reputation for corruption and crime. Most tourists are scuba divers who go immediately to a ship (called a live-aboard) for a week of diving the many Japanese ships sunk in the lagoon. The state is bankrupt, and the soaring price of fuel has crimped travel in an place where motor boats are the most effective means of transportation. The government offices we visited were without electrical power. The roads were in a terrible state: you usually travel at 5 miles per hour, dodging the largest potholes.

Internet is really expensive. They have a state-back monopoly, and they would pay over $1000 a month for a connection that is not as fast as my home DSL line in California for $25. But, they hope that this problem will be overcome someday.


I was quite impressed by the people I met in Chuuk who are dedicated to kids and education. We had good discussions about how to extend Internet around to different schools, and apparently they are talking to the Green WiFi/Meraki folks about a mesh network (which I think would be well suited to Chuuk). After talking with the special education team, we walked across the way and met with the curriculum team. We were given a bunch of books created by teachers in Chuukese, and got to meet one of the authors, Johndy Nakamura. We're planning on scanning these in, and the team gave us permission to add these books to Bookshare.org.

Three women in an office, Kathy Mori's boss, Donna McNear and Kathy Mori
Donna has a good friend, Kathy Mori (not sure of the spelling), who works in the health agency. They've worked together on screening children with vision impairments. One mother brought her daughter to Kathy's office to see Donna, a cute toddler with one good eye and one eye blinded from Vitamin A deficiency. I understood that this girl was one of a pair of twins, but that the other twin had died from complications of this vitamin deficiency.

Visually impaired girl with one eye showing an impairment

Donna wanted to get out and visit one of the other islands in the lagoon, and asked her friend Kathy if she could help arrange the visit. And thus another adventure was kicked into motion!

2 comments:

Davis said...

Dear Jim:

First of all thank you for changing my life, all that was said on the CBS news report I echo.

For me the Daisy reader is a bit slow and not easy to follow, would you consider making www.readplease.com a program you would consider promoting thru Bookshare.

My motivation is for education implementation, and preservation of www.readplease.com . It is a software which enables me to function and excel where I have never been able to in the past, with the written word.

Your vision is great, I believe it is also the wave of the future in education and opens the gateway for a more open teaching structure in education. You and your company have taken a big leap for this advancement thru your vision, and have taken the first step on the journey of creating a pathway for the end product.

The vision is to have text books in digital format to have test read to those who need help and for those you don't to have it taken on line. Would it not be great for newspapers to be read to you like bookshare, but for the newspaper to have their stories "Readplease enabled" ( Go to: http://www.readplease.com/english/rpenablewebsitecontent.php for their demo.)
(Do publishing companies provide books in digital format to bookshare? side question)

Attached are three communications which I have written which I would like for you to review one is to Talking Books who asked me to write a story for their newsletter, Postcards from an LD Veteran is insight to what if felt like to go thru life not being able to read, and then the last is an email which I wrote to the Wallstreet Journal paralleling the above discussion (email titled The bright side of technology).

Again thank you for all you and your team are doing for the "print disabled" (I know that dyslexia is a gift to me from my Lord Jesus),by changing life's one word at a time.

Sincerely,
Davis W. Graham
Executive Director \ CFO
Manatee Diagnostic Center
300 Riverside Drive East, Suite 4300
Bradenton, Florida 34208-1025
(941) 708-8378
(941) 708-8340 Fax
ICTHUS <><

Asinech Hellan Mida said...

It breaks my heart to read about my home state Chuuk. I am, however, happy that in less than two years, I will be able to help. I am currently in Optometry school and will be returning to Micronesia, hopefully Chuuk, to provide vision care services to the public. I can't wait.