As GVI community development staff, I have been working with the most astounding community building organizations and initiatives. SAFE Shimoni, Shimoni Environmental Association, school clubs and teaching English (and now chemistry, at the moment!), Friends of Shimoni Forest, Computer Classes… The list goes on here in Shimoni, Kenya.
But right now, I want to talk about a small side project that has really resonated with me. The headmaster of Matunda Bora, Mr. Opiyo, mentioned to our community officer Sophie that he wanted to start an internet café here in Shimoni.
“Does he actually have any computers yet?” I asked.
“He does, yeah, actually. He has a lot of them. But one of them is really broken – it’ll probably have to be wiped by a specialist in Mombasa at some point. And the others are riddled with viruses and whatnot,” was basically the gist of the response.
|Linnea and Mr Opiyo at Bum Bum's|
I felt like responding, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED,” because, yeah, I used to watch How I Met Your Mother. So I tackled trojan viruses, worms, a fragmented system, out of date and obsolete antivirus programs, and what felt like eleventy billion applications with automatic start-up settings on reboot.
I swear, the number of times I’ve caught myself talking to the computers, coaxing them into staying responsive and running… All the while Nicky, the local barber that hangs out with me while I work, probably thought I was nuts. And now, I have successfully rehabilitated Mr. Opiyo’s 5 computers!
To me, computers are so valuable because they are the things that allow you to access the internet, and the internet is fast becoming the best source of reliable information in the world. It’s not rocket science, and it’s certainly something I believe almost every single resident of Shimoni is capable of doing.
So, when I fix these computers, with all these frustrating problems, when I commit to hours of navigating in and out of damaged software, trudging through and keeping my patience with a computer bogged down by malware or viruses, when I finally get onto the internet without flaw, navigate to Google and see that clean search engine page, ready and waiting for Shimoni residents to let their imaginations fly and their curiosities settle on virtually any topic they want to know more about… It makes me feel like the world is opening up.
Linnea Lundberg – Shimoni Community Field Staff