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Between the Centuries 

n Hosanna, the streets are filled with wooden carts pulled 
Taking donated books to their school
by donkeys, small "bajas" which are like a motorcycle pulling a wagon that holds 3 thin people, cows on their way to graze and hundreds of people walking everywhere. When I come home to Long Island, there is no one walking unless they are on an exercise plan. New cars stream by with lights or stop signs on almost every block. In Addis Ababa most cars are over 25 years old and there are only 7 stop lights for a huge modern city of 5 million people but now with  highways and asphalt roads. 
Life in the countryside is generally the same as it has been for a LONG time. Farming is the same in Ethiopia for hundreds if not thousands of years. Children go to school where their "exercise book", which is a book to copy from the board and a mandatory pen.  There are no book reports because there are no books to read. There are no pages of ditto worksheets for homework because there are no copy machines or electricity or paper in classrooms. When you buy coffee at the market, someone has to spend hours picking out every bean because it just came from the farm and has stones and small twigs in the one kilo bag.
Now let's think about technology. In NY everything is wireless, our houses, stores. Almost everywhere you go, you can get WiFi.  In Ethiopia the government offices use cables attached to the computers for better antivirus protection and more reliable service - except when the electricity goes out, which is often- and then they just sit and wait for hours to get back to work.
We want to bring the people of Hosanna a way to connect with the world beyond their farm and rural city- to a world with millions of people, different cultures and ideas and access to unlimited knowledge and skills. HOW? Through technology! We have built into the community library a large computer room now filled with tables and chairs. We have 5 computers to start but we are ready for 23. Then a whole classroom of students can come in at once. Then the high school students, who come to study, can spend some time doing research and learning to surf the web. Then the library visitors, who want books that we don't have, can find information on the internet. How amazing is this! We can be there for everyone. I was lucky to meet a man who can network them all, put in education software and install many sites that don't require the internet. The town is hiring an ICT expert to manage / train the users.
We can transform the lives of these talented yet  isolated people, to bring them skills and knowledge that they can use for themselves to solve their own problems and transform their world. 

 Every time I visit, the library children come to me and say, "I heard you  were getting us computers. When will they be there?" One of the  experienced teachers told me "I just want to have my hands on a  computer before I die". The head of the education bureau told all the  town's educators at an official meeting that we are getting them all  computers so that they can bring the children and teachers into the 21st century.
I am hoping we can develop this VERY soon and am VERY excited to see  the children and adults gaining new skills and knowledge and making global connections with us all.  


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