[Bhojpur Bazaar, Bhojpur, Nepal]
I’m sorry for the rushed posting (forgive any typos, etc), but I have very limited access to electricity, much less the internet, and I needed to cover as much ground as possible in a short amount of time. What I need is your help (not $$!!–just a little creative thinking and some network building) to get a village of 10K people access to a handful of computers for their school.
Most of you already know that I disappeared into the remote hills of eastern Nepal for 6 weeks to live in a traditional village, teach English and learn Nepali. I’m now about 12 days into what has been, from its very first moment, a life-altering experience. Although these people are financially “poor,” using that word to describe them is profoundly misleading: money has a radically reduced importance in their lives because they produce nearly everything they need all by themselves from the land they live on (in 12 days I’ve spent about $5…and that was today: for an umbrella and some batteries for my headlamp). Because they’re an agrarian society they work extremely hard, but they eat well, enjoy life tremendously, want for nothing and take care of themselves and one another with a communal sophistication that is as far advanced beyond our society as our technology is beyond theirs.
The school in my village, Kot, serves between 600 and 900 students depending upon the year and the season. Like most villages in Nepal, Kot is full of bright, industrious, intelligent and sophisticated human beings. They’re trying hard to take the next evolutionary step for their communities, and they understand that they need basic computer skills and internet access in order to accomplish this goal. Information, information, information.
I’m hoping we may be in a position to help out.
Here’s all they need (seriously):
- A handful of computers with appropriate software and some trivial accessories (largely accomplished)
- a power supply (solar…working on this)
- a sattelite dish with internet access (we can accomplishthis on this end)
- some computer savvy to get everything set up and help train the teachers (That’d be me).
Also…the REALLY REALLY awesome thing about this is that it could turn into a pilot project that would scale to most of rural Nepal (the majority of the country).
Here’s the status on each of those items.
- A handful of computers with appropriate software and some trivial accessories (partially accomplished)
It turns out that they recently received 3 brand new Dell computers and nice flat-panel monitors from a former student, via a donation routed through the World Wildlife Fund. They are sitting in their boxes unused, and for the moment unusable because there is no way to power them. (See next item).
What we still need: We are looking for Microsoft (or similar) to underwrite 3 copies of MS Windows and 3 copies of MS Office (student edition). Also…if any of you have an older (but decent) computer you might be willing to donate, please let me know.
- a power supply
Although the school’s solar panel is the strongest in the village, the setup is insufficient to run even one desktop computer for more than a short time (i.e. it takes forever to recharge the batteries they have using the current panel; they need more battery storage and a panel that’ll charge it faster). Many homes here have inexpensive, low-tech solar to recharge their cellphones and the LED lanterns they use at night (instead of oil lanterns), so they’re familiar with, and fond of, solar. And the climate supports it.
What we need: Does anyone have knowledge or connections in this field or know anyone who knows anyone, etc, etc.? This is the BIG item on the list. No power, no computers. Game over.
- a sattelite dish with internet access
This is already available in Nepal. I have arranged with a local charity to fund this once the other pieces are in place.
What I/we can provide:
- I have a connection in place whose existing charity will allow for tax-deductible, charitable donations–a Nepli living in Pokhara who already works with various NGOs to help further such causes. (I can provide detailed info on previous projects if needed)
- Any concrete information (historical, etc) that’s required about the school, it’s leaders, the local demographics, or the village itself (or me, naturally)
- Seriously bad ass video footage: Classrooms of kids, a village out of a time machine, stunning natural beauty; village celebrations, harvesting wheat, plowing rice paddies with oxen, you name it. I can gussy something up and make a quick edit if required
- Pretty much anything else they might need
Anyway…I’m aware I have no way to motivate you other than to say it’s an awesome and relatively simple thing to do, but…it’s an awesome and relatively simple thing to do, so please give it some serious thought and get back in touch with me. Unfortunately, that means eiher a two-week delay or an international phone call (or text) because there is no internet access in the village (hence my unplanned, 6-hour march back to Bhojpur).
My Nepali cellphone # is Country code 977, then 981.667.9816. I’m typically awake from 5am to 9pm (latest) local time, and don’t really get voicemail (maybe I do, not sure…you’ll have to try…I have the cheapest service and phone available to mankind). As mentioned, I do get texts, so if you can send an international SMS, I’ll get that.
Obviously you should feel free to forward this information to anyone and everyone on the planet whom you feel might be able and willing to assist.
I will be returning to Bhojpur to check emails in about 14 days (a brutal 12-hour roundtrip trek isn’t something I can do everyday). Because of the remoteness of things and the sluggishness of communication from here, and the inevitable time it takes to make things happen, getting information to me sooner is far better than later.
Many thanks, and my eternal gratitude for taking the time to read this far.
—Your Transglobal Admirer
Nepali cellphone # is Country code 977, then 981.667.9816
email me at gmail: username transglobalist (<–sorry…small attempt to fend off the spambots)
Seriously. ANYONE you can think of and connect me with, or would be willing to contact on my behalf would be profoundly appreciated and would permanently change the lives of thousands of human beings (for starters).
And, hey, it’d be great for your karma…or at least that’s what my new Nepali friends tell me.