Here’s what I just sent out to friends and family, last night. The donated gear and well wishes are rolling in as I type this. I’m pretty excited, to say the least!
Some of you may know that I’m heading off to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for six weeks, starting next Friday, 8/24. I’m emailing a) to give everyone the details on what I’ll be up to and b) to put out a call for useful gear that you might want to donate.
So, first, the lowdown. My plan is to help build up the IT infrastructure at the regional hospital in a city called Goma, on the border between Rwanda and the Congo. If the stars align just right, I’ll be able to set up a local network and software to run an electronic medical record system for them. The nonprofit that I’ll be working with is an amazing one called HEAL Africa (http://healafrica.org), which runs the hospital and a coordinates huge number of services in the area.
I will also, of course, be working with the Goma Student Fund (http://gomastudentfund.org), the educational non-profit that Devon Lake started and that I have been on the board of for the last four years. I’ll be visiting our teachers and helping our students get started with the new school year.
Who knows what else I’ll be up to? Visiting gorillas, perhaps, or writing Instructables to showcase local makers. I can’t wait. I’ll posting updates in various forms; send me a quick message if you’d like to get them.
If you’re anything like me, there are treasures hiding in the dark corners of your closets and drawers. A quick pass over my room netted old digital cameras, wireless routers, and even a decent laptop, all dusty with disuse. Rescue these gems from their uncertain fate, send them with me (a tax-deductible donation), and I’ll put them in the hands of people who will use them until they can’t be used no’ mo’.
What to donate:
- Laptops: I won’t be able to use total junkers, but decent laptops (last five years or so) are gold. If I can find a powerful enough one, it may end up being the server for the entire hospital’s management system.
- Laptop power supplies: I especially need one for a Dell laptop…
- Digital Cameras: Who uses a 1MP camera, anymore? Not you, but I’ll bet that old camera will do just fine in Goma.
- Networking gear: Wireless routers, hubs, ethernet cable, crimpers, etc. to make it all play nice together
- Flash memory: USB keys, Compact Flash, etc. All those little cards and readers lying around like confetti in your room.
So, bring me your old gear! This weekend is an ideal time. I’ll be overjoyed to take anything you have, up to the day I leave, but packing to get under the baggage limits is going to be an adventure, as it is…
Love, Hugs, et cetera,