As I mentioned before, MedPLUS is partnering with a Ghanaian-based NGO called EVCOAfrica. The mission of EVCOAfrica is “To provide computer literacy to the children of rural Africa through donation of refurbished computers and accessories, organize computer workshops and speeches, and promote community involvement and development.” They are an incredible organization…check out their work at www.evcoafrica.org.
I met with EVCOAfrica’s chief technician while in Accra and he helped us to purchase transformers for the two freezers that we donated to the Lawra District Hospital and Wechiau Health Center, as well as an Uninterruptible Power Supply for the computers, which allow them to better deal with the power surges and power outages common in Ghana. Larbi, the chief technician, agreed to make the long journey to the north of Ghana to network our computer lab in Wechiau.
I met Larbi and his colleague in Wa, the capital of the Upper West Region, and the nearest place to Wechiau that receives buses from the south of Ghana. After a quick breakfast at my hotel, we headed to the tro-tro station to catch a car to Wechiau…a modified pick-up truck that had wooden benches and old tires for seats and was surrounded by a cage of steel bars covered by a tarp. Larbi was a great sport and we spent most of the ride laughing as we bounced along the dirt roads, rain water dripped down on us through the holes in the tarp. I guess you cannot complain when the 2 hour journey only costs about $1!
In Wechiau, Larbi and his colleague installed the RACHEL server and networked all of the computers. They worked from 10am (coming straight off a 12 hour overnight bus and 2 hour tro-tro ride) until 3am that morning, and were up again to finish the installation at 7am…all the while with enthusiasm and a great attitude!
The RACHEL server is a huge database of offline educational resources. This will allow health personnel and local community members the opportunity to access thousands of pages of Wikipedia articles, thousands of books (including hundreds of novels and children’s books written by African authors), video tutorials that teach math and science concepts at all levels, course readings from U.S. universities, interactive software to teach English and typing, a medical encyclopedia, and much much more. The RACHEL server is such an incredible idea and I am so excited that MedPLUS was able to partner with EVCOAfrica in bringing these resources to Wechiau!