It’s been a whirlwind this week, but I’m so happy to report that we’ve finished the installation at our first school and will start the second school today. And at last, all of our boxes are now here! We were also excited to welcome two volunteers from Kids on Computers (www.kidsoncomputers.org) who arrived yesterday to work with us. So even though the electricity continues to come and go, we’ve had a really good start on our work here.
Well, it’s amazing how one’s mood improves when a missing utility returns! The electricity popped back on about 6:20 p.m., and Neal is happily testing again. Maybe it’s just me, but I do feel such a sense of euphoria when either water or electricity has been out for a while and then comes back on. Who knows what tomorrow will bring – unfortunately probably another outage – but for the moment it is good to be doing what we’ve come here to do.
Here we are, back in Arusha again! It’s wonderful to see good friends again and so many familiar faces around town! Having said that, we’ve had a few trials so far as we always seem to at the beginning of each Africa trip. We’re just trying to shed our American mania for multi-tasking and high efficiency and slip into the mode of patient acceptance of things beyond one’s control – a state in which much of the world must live with no choice. I feel so much again how unbelievably fortunate we are in America and don’t really realize or appreciate it.
With all of the recent box-packing for the Philippines, it’s been easy to lose track of the fact that we’re now just five days away from departure to Tanzania! Seven boxes with the rest of the Free Geek hardware, some donated books and fabric, and a few other computer hardware donations were picked up Friday to support ten different schools in Cebu. We reclaimed our living room space for exactly one evening before the chaos of packing struck yet again, this time for Tanzania.
Just 10 days ago, we were in Oregon picking up monitors, desktops, keyboards, and mice at Free Geek (www.freegeek.org). It was really exciting yesterday to already fire out five boxes with 26 monitors, 5 desktops, 15 keyboards, and 15 mice! Packing the monitors was definitely a mind-bending 3D puzzle though! When I was a kid I loved playing with the Soma cube, and trying to find a way to make the many variants of monitor stands fit together efficiently into a nice rectangular parallelepiped volume reminded me of the hours spent moving and turning the Soma cube pieces. It was a combination of fun and headache!
We’re in the happy position of being awash in hardware again! We spent a week bicycling in Oregon, but on the way home we passed through Portland to visit an important shrine of techno-philanthropy, Free Geek (www.freegeek.org). This was our first visit, and it was truly inspiring! Free Geek serves the community in so many ways: as a trustworthy handler of computer equipment donations, a meticulous refurbisher, a generous granter, a responsible recycler, a technology educator, and a role model for service to all. The most exciting thing to me is that even if someone has no money, they can receive a full computer system (including legal software) for a donation of 24 hours of service to Free Geek. That is truly making a difference in so many lives!
Seven boxes will be heading off today, bound for Cebu! Most of the newly-purchased World Computer Exchange hardware will be sent on its way and will hopefully be waiting for us there when we arrive in mid-January. I’ll be back in the garage packing more upon our return from Oregon. In between finishing up the servers, Neal has been updating the Reneal IEO website to include our donation link to the National Cristina Foundation – check it out here.
Back from a much-enjoyed backpacking trip, we’re in high gear preparing equipment for Tanzania and the Philippines. The condo is a hilarious study in confusion, with piles of equipment everyone you look. Neal is finishing up nine (nine!) servers right now, and in between that work he tested out eleven gigabit network switches. In addition to the 52 laptops for Tanzania, we now have 20 computers, monitors, keyboard, and mice that Reneal purchased from the World Computer Exchange.
Our Indiegogo campaign is underway! Check out “Obsolescence to Opportunity in the Philippines” here. Our goal is to obtain support to install the Reneal IEO low-cost computer system at five schools in Cebu in 2016.
Since Monday we’ve been communicating regularly with our intern Jade as he’s been working on the seventh and final 2015 Cebu installation for Reneal IEO, this one at Medellin Science and Technology High School. Medellin S&T is in northern Cebu, and their IT lab was badly damaged during Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) in November of 2013. We are so pleased to continue our support to the schools that were victims of Yolanda’s wrath.