Gopi, Ubuntu, and other things

In September I went and picked up 25 donated Dell PC’s from the department ofputers border protection. They were donated to the fledgling computer club I started at East Middle School in Great Falls, Montana. After considering how to use the computers, I decided to set the computers up and have kids come to my room and play computer games for a quarter. Our plan was to use the money we raised to help buy supplies for a needy classroom in Bhaktapur, Nepal. In October and November we raised a little over $75.00 to help out Govinda (the administrator of the Nepalese school) and his students. This is where the problems seem to have started. A local news station even did a story about it…Click Here if you want to read the story. Go to the WATCH the VIDEO link if you want to see how it looked on TV.

I don’t think things through very well sometimes. I went to Walmart and bought $60.00 worth of crayons, notebooks, pencils, erasers, and other supplies to ship off to Bhaktapur, Nepal. Bhaktapur is about as far away from Great Falls, Montana as you can possibly get so I thought shipping something there might be a little spendy…maybe another $30.00 or so, if I ship it UPS ground…this was my first mistake. You can’t ship something via Ground across an ocean (I am always learning something new). When I asked for a quote at the local UPS store, I was put on hold for several box-of-suppliesminutes when I imagine they were probably contacting the Bhaktapurian UPS store to come up with a price to ship a 35 LB box of supplies from here…to there. Long story short…it would cost $282.50 to send the $60.00 box of supplies to Bhaktapur. I contemplated spending the $282.50 to send the package and imagined the box being smashed, crunched, dropped, and mutilated as it made the 7000 mile trek from here to Bhaktapur (give or take a couple thousand miles). The reason I would even contemplate spending that amount to ship something to Nepal is that I lack the ability to trust.

Govinda Prasda Panthy (Gopi) contacted me through skype because he thought I was 79 year old teacher who would be able to donate lots of money to his school. Since my name on skype is Teacherman79 I guess I can understand his reasoning. I joke with my teaching partner that Gopi is probably sitting in a high rise building in New York City contacting people through Skype and getting them to send money to a poor school in Nepal…but in all humor there is usually truth. Deep down inside, I somehow believe that Gopi is trying to scam me. And honestly, who can blame me,welcomegopi1 with all the scams, identity thefts, and other crimes against unwitting victims that seem to be the norm these days. In my distrust, I asked Gopi to send me a picture of his students holding up a sign that said hello to my students at East Middle School to prove to us that they were real. Something was lost in translation as you can see from the sign held by the young student who looks as if he is really curious (and perhaps a little miffed) as to why he has to hold up a sign in someone else’s language. Gopi told me that many parents of students at SAV school were taking there kids out of school as they had no money to pay for supplies and they believed that education held little value.

Anyhow, I guess that I will keep the box of supplies here and give them to local children in need of supplies because we have needy children in Great library-designFalls, Montana too. I will also figure out how Western Union works and send Gopi some money to help him buy some things for his students. He sent me a picture of plans he is making for a library at his school. Maybe the money I send can help him get started with his library. I am debating on the amount to send him, perhaps $282.50…

To me, the fact that I am even having a conversation with a teacher whom I am 99% sure is from Nepal, about struggles he has in his classroom says boatloads about how much our world is changing. Great Falls, Montana and Bhaktapur, Nepal are about as far away from eachother as you can get…

On a personal note, we signed our two sons up for Recreational Hockey League last night…Great Falls finally has ice to skate on…its been a long time coming…My kids love to skate and play hockey but we haven’t had an ice rink for several years…they played hockey last year but didn’t do well as it is difficult to play hockey if you don’t know how to skate…a predicament faced by about half of their team last year…I am happy they get to play hockey and learn to skate in town now…Seeing my kids happy makes me happy…I wonder if they have hockey in Bhaktapur…

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2 Responses to “Gopi, Ubuntu, and other things”

  1. Dean groom Says:

    Wow. How good is this story. What an amazing thing you have done. If you check some of the orgs like world vision you might be able to donate the cash. But I reckon that what you did was really cool. That photo is awesome. Connecting your kids like this is so clever. I am sure that you’ve become a very influential leader. Such an amazing journey. Just goes to show how one person can make such a big difference. And that you don’t need huge budgets to really engage students. A long way from the school computer committee. A story well worth re-telling. Congrats on a fantastic achievement.

  2. I think your students as well as your kids will appreciate the world view you are trying to give them. Plus, its always good to learn from your mistakes – even shipping ones 🙂

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