Mike Mongo reveals the worlds of marine, shoreline, and in-land eco-biology

Monday, June 16, 2008

Key West Computer Drive for Students in Trelawny, Jamaica

Trelawny Students
[Trelawny Students photo by Ian G]

To get where we are going, I'd like to share some things about me with you.

First of all, computers are my life. I repair them, I use them, I get people on the internet—helping them get websites, or by getting their computers and internet up-and-running.

The other thing you must know is I am dedicated to a future where kids can dream of space travel. That's why I wrote HUMANNAIRES! Mike Mongo's Astronaut Instruction Manual for Pre-Teens. [link]

Lastly, I recycle. I recycle or re-use everything I use that I can. And I work to help others who want do the same.

Recently, an opportunity which combines all three of the above presented itself.

Seeing as we are a prosperous Island nation, here on the de facto center of the Conch Republic's capital, Key West, while I am out repairing computers and/or being "computer tutor," I often see unused computers. What more, I regularly see computers sitting by the roadside, discarded by new computer owners.

We have so many computers here on Key West they sit unused or get thrown away! That's good news and bad to me. I am happy we are so prosperous here, yet unhappy that things that can be put to good use are being wasted.

Seeing as this is something that I think of all the time, three weeks ago I was telling one of my client's whose "sick" computer I was cleaning and bringing back up-to-speed. "My wife is a teacher for elementary kids in Jamaica," he tells me. "They have one single computer for ninety kids, and it belongs to one of the other teachers. Why not collect the unused computers and we can ship them over there?"

At first, it seemed impossible. But you know how these things go here in the Conch Republic. Three weeks later, the owners and staff of Conch Town Cafe and I am are lining up shipping and internet sponsorship for the school—Brampton Primary in Trelawny Parish [link]—and suddenly the time has come for a computer drive!

Remarkably, this weekend is also Juneteenth [link]. What an auspicious weekend to "increase our network"!

We are collecting computers—desktops or laptops—and monitors and peripherals. Likewise, if you have CD copies of Windows that are being unused, we will take them, too. Several visiting college computer science students and I will then spend next week piecing together complete work stations to be shipped to Trelawny Parish. I will then escort them there next month and install the computers myself at the school, and spend a week training the kids and adults in their use. Officially, this is to be the first HUMANNAIRES! outreach project.

The drop-off is Conch Town Cafe [link] in Bahama Village, 801 Petronia Street (across the street from Blue Heaven). They will be the accepting station for donated computers all weekend long. Get some fried conch while you are there, or a $3 smoothie.

If getting your disposed or unused computer to the restaurant is a challenge for any reason, then I will come to you. My friends at Blue Heaven have donated the use of a transportation vehicle for this purpose.

Often, I assist in placing computers for kids (and adults) here on the Island who need them. But now there are computers at the schools and community centers and just about everywhere. Pretty much anyone here on Key West who wants internet access has it or can get it. This is an opportunity to bring internet and the benefits that go along with it to a group of kids on a neighboring Island who have yet to have it, and I am really grateful to be part of this effort.

See, if anyone knows the value of computers to a young mind, it's me. Computers opened doors for me. Computers and the internet change people's live.

If a single child in Trelawny takes advantage of the presence of internet and computers, and then make an opportunity for their self, this project is worthwhile. Imagine: For kids in rural communities, the internet can be a genuine lifeline.

Will you help us "bring the google" to kids from a nearby island who are presently off-network?


Bob said...

How do I contact you? I have a desk top pc to donate.

Anonymous said...

Got your back, Mike. Wanna throw a shout out to the one-laptop per child drive?

Holowacz said...

We've got an unused Dell laptop here at The Studios of Key West, and I'm just making sure it works and that we have the cord/peripherals. We'll also ask around to our studio artists and extended family. Whatever we can locate is yours...