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RE: [ujeni] for sake of argument

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  • Holland, Mark
    ... As someone who spent two post-peace-corps years as a computer consultant on a wide variety of projects in Malawi, I can only hang my head and agree. With a
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 19, 2005
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      > Mr. Gates wants to send computers to Africa - an unproductive not to
      > say insane idea. I would offer pencils and paper, mops and brooms:
      > the schools I have seen in Malawi need them badly.

      As someone who spent two post-peace-corps years as a computer consultant on
      a wide variety of projects in Malawi, I can only hang my head and agree.
      With a few more filing cabinets, a few more reams of paper, and an overhaul
      of administrative procedures, the government staff I worked with could have
      handled the existing information flow in a few hours a day. The maintenance
      and supply problems are insurmountable without donor aid. And I wonder if
      people really understand the associated opportunity cost: when a computer
      is "given" to Africa it means that donor money goes to Microsoft, Intel,
      DHL, and a handful of local import agents.

      Mark

      -----Original Message-----
      From: ujeni@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ujeni@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
      Christine Chumbler
      Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 5:15 PM
      To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [ujeni] for sake of argument


      I'm not saying that I agree with his arguments necessarily (in fact, my
      first instinct is to pick apart *anything* he says), but thought I'd pass
      along this Paul Theroux op-ed from the NY Times.





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    • Paul DEVER
      Please recall that this man was workling for the opposition during Malawi s nascent years, and put not only himself, but other PCVs and the DC program in
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 23, 2005
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        Please recall that this man was workling for the opposition during Malawi's
        nascent years, and put not only himself, but other PCVs and the DC program
        in danger.

        Read "My Secret History" and get the real story....how he appreciated being
        a Mzungu so he could jump the line at the hospital to get his necessary
        penicillin shots...

        It was quite a task if any of you ever saw me that I was holding my contempt
        in check.....
      • Scott Geibel
        I can think of something more annoying than an Irish rock star in a cowboy hat pontificating about African aid: It s an elitist snob writer who thinks his
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 23, 2005
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          I can think of something more annoying than an Irish rock star in a cowboy
          hat pontificating about African aid: It's an elitist snob writer who thinks
          his inconsequential personal experiences in Africa intellectually trump the
          substantive material and moral contributions of others. List the African
          contributions/impact of the Writer on one side of a piece of paper, and then
          list the same for the Rock Star and the Billionaire Nerd on the other...
          there's no comparison.

          A short list of the Writer's contributions includes teaching a few classes
          and planting gonorrhea in teenage African girls. He can keep his pencils and
          paper; expecting Africa to independently catch up using his 40 year-old
          technologies? I dunno....

          We need to start thinking outside the box in improving education and access
          to information. Over the next 10 years, if they can keep the cost of these
          computers down as they say to $100 (mobile phones were more expensive), and
          if they aren't complete pieces of crap, Gates won't need to give them out...
          Africans will be buying them. It's a productive idea worth pursuing; no more
          insane than rural mobile phones and anti-retroviral therapy were 10 years
          ago.

          Scott



          > Mr. Gates wants to send computers to Africa - an unproductive not to
          > say insane idea. I would offer pencils and paper, mops and brooms:
          > the schools I have seen in Malawi need them badly.
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