High-Speed reaches Brampton!

This is the greatest day ever. It started warm, and bright, and with day-light savings time over at last again…and a phone call and a text message.

The phone call was from the principal of Brampton All-Ages Primary, Camiel West-Thompson, who called from Jamaica this morning to bless me with the best news I have heard since January 20th: She has high-speed internet.

It is at her house.

She lives almost one mile from the school. Which is still a ways to go. But let me explain something. This is the first (and presently only) person in a three-township region who has internet faster that dial-up. I have been working for this moment for nine months now. She has been working for this moment for a decade.

It was Camiel’s vision which led to her husband, Lincoln Thompson, and I collecting our first load of discarded and recycled Key West computers, and shipping them to Jamaica. It is Camiel’s vision which led to the community and school board coming together to support the building of the Brampton Primary computer room. And it has been Camiel’s vision which has led me to rally the support of our many friends and fans internationally.

And today that vision has paid off for real in the one single way I consider to be tangible: Connection has been made.

For the first time, the community has real access to the benefits of the internet. Email, file-sharing, Google!


And when I say community, here is what I mean. Her home is in Calabar, just on the road to Brampton. (The school is situated so that Calabar is above it to the North, and Brampton it to it’s South.) When we orchestrated the installation of the phone lines and high-speed, we did so with the understanding that I when I return (for the 3rd time) I will be bringing an additional two computers and inkjet printer for the tiny beer-store-and-goods-shop her father and step-mom own and operates alongside the family’s mountainside home.

These computers will be publicly available. Neighbors will be able to use email, videochat, and yes Google! They will be able to print letters, documents, schematics, layouts, instructions, and directions. All the internet computing goodness—so many of us have taken for granted for at least the past decade—is their’s today for the first time!

If you know me, then you must have an idea how this makes me feel. (If you don’t know me,  imagine the glee of a happy circus audience. Every member of which all who just learned they won free ponies. And a lifetime of supply of organic pony feed. Just because they bought a ticket. That’s about covers it.)

For me, life before Google was all working towards Google. As an adult with a lifetime of research behind him, for me there is BG (Before Google) and AG (After Google).  And Life AG has been some of the best years of my life to date.

Making Google available—and the subsequent access to an ever-increasing resource of data and technology—to communities and generations is the same as delivering corn seed to pilgrims; at this juncture in human development, it is the difference between redundancy and relevancy, dying and living, starvation and future.

This is the philisophical groundwork which impels me to pursue these goals to provide children with tools, and the guidance to make use of them with confidence and certainty. This is how I see it. Google equals future.

We are shipping 78 recycled computer workstations to Jamaica, at a cost of $25 for each station. All the sponsors who contribute $25 are paying it forward, and paying for some child’s access to future. It’s that simple.

And this morning the future called up Key West today, in the voice of a Jamaican Primary School principal, to say “Hello!” Feel free to email to her well wishes at her new gmail address. (It is cwestthompson at gmail dot com.)

If that wasn’t enough, there was additional good news today. It was a text from my  honorary brother, Keith MacDonald. Specifically, it was from he and his wife Caroline.

It read, “Baby born at 11:37 PM. She’s a girl. Samara.” I honestly cried with joy.

You ever wake up to one of those days where it the whole entire world is exactly as good as you hope it will be?

I’m happy to share with everyone that that day for me was today.

$25 gift for computers to Jamaica via PayPal