TIIT’s New Computer!
Written by Jay
March 16, 2013 Hardware
We just used the first donation on TIIT’s website to buy a new computer for the school! Special thanks to Mammoth Designs in Kentucky, USA, for being our inaugural donor. Thanks also to Solomon, entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of Datacomm Systems & Solutions, for letting TIIT have a monitor to go with the computer before paying for it.
The path to getting the computer in the kids’ hands started with a random conversation at a backpacker hostel in Nairobi, when a traveler from Virginia, Daniel Shaffer, told me about The Tennessee Institute of Information Technology and all the great stuff Morris and Andrew have been doing for the past decade, in large part thanks to help from Morris’ alma mater, McCallie in Tennessee. Daniel connected us through Facebook, and after meeting with Morris, Mick and I decided it was well past time for TIIT to have a website so they could raise funds. More importantly, the Tunapanda and TIIT partnership has rapidly advanced the curriculum at TIIT, giving room for advanced skill training.
So we made the website and set up an account with WePay to collect donations, forwarding to a US bank account. It’s rather difficult for a Kenyan to receive funds from the US (Western Union is a hassle and charges 10%), but being American it was quite easy for us to receive money from a credit card, transfer it to a bank, and withdraw it from an ATM in Kenya. Side-note: We are in the process of finding out how much money we can transfer before going to jail for money laundering, if anyone knows the answer to that please let us know.
On our way into Elburgon, we stopped in Nakuru (which is about 160km from Nairobi) to visit Solomon’s shop and pick up the computer – see picture at top of page. It was very gratifying to see those hours spent setting up a website turn into something tangible.
We jumped onto a matatu (minivan) and made the 40km trip from Nakuru to Elburgon, and within a few minutes had the computer set up for usage. Using our hard drive, we installed a bunch of software and courses, including Google’s free “SketchUp” 3D modelling software.
After a few hours on the new computer blowing the students’ minds with videos ranging from Khan Academy to software tutorials to 3D printing, we decided to give them a break and show Salman Khan’s TED talk, which we’d downloaded in Nairobi, so they’d know we aren’t lying about these videos being used all over the world.
Eventually we had to leave TIIT, happy with the knowledge that everyone (especially us) had learned a lot.
For more information about Evan’s e-reader distribution project, see my last post.