Been in Vietnam now for almost a week. (Read my previous posts here and here, also read Kamau’s most recent blog post here.) So far this has been a unique and amazing experience. The concept of service learning is something I had never thought of but resonates really well. The great thing about it is that the “learn” aspect doesn’t necessarily need to be directly job related, I mean there is a huge value in personal growth / developing soft-skills. Of course there is a technical aspect to it…
Talking about technical stuff, it is funny how relatively simple tips can make a huge difference in improving process of for instance desktop re-imagining. What struck me most is that before you actually come up with a simple approach you tend to look at 20 different complex solutions, probably just because you can. It is all about where you come from I guess, when your back ground is Enterprise IT, you will want to take 20 huge steps back before you start a project like this. Just to give an example, you cannot expect to install 12 hosts and an all-flash-array in an environment where you do not even know if there is cooling or sufficient power. It is easy to assume that it will be available, but especially in these kind of places that is not a given.
After visiting 2 orphanages and conducting many interviews around how classrooms are being used / managed and deployed we went from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho on Wednesday morning. Let me say though that HCMC is a great city, extremely vibrant and energetic. It is in constant motion and they may say that New York never sleeps but I am sure this also applies to HCMC. Other thing that struck me is that it all comes across as extremely chaotic (especially traffic), if you take a step back and observe it appears not to be chaotic but rather organic. It flows.
In Can Tho we visited two orphanages and it made it even more clear that a lot of help is needed. I was talking to my kids last night about this as well, what struck me was the enthusiasm of these orphans, the joy, and the willingness to help each-other out. It is awesome to see how excited they are about computer classes, and instead of fighting each other (like my kids would do) to be the first to claim a laptop they all huddled in and shared. It is also great to see how fast they picked up, before we knew they opened up youtube and were visiting various websites. I still wonder how they managed to get on the password protected wifi though that we had just set up, LOL.
What rests me for now is telling all of you, again, that this is one of those experiences that will be with me for the rest of my life. An amazing trip, an amazing charity, talking about providing a new perspective to things. Before I forget… 6 people have been so kind to sponsor computer classes for a child for one year, various others have made other contributions, I want to thank each of you for giving back. It is great to see how engaged all of you are, that you are willing to donate your own money for a great cause like this. I can’t say it enough: thanks.
*** I know many of my fellow technology lovers have a big heart. I would like to ask each and everyone of you who has enjoyed reading my articles to donate something to either Team4Tech or Orphan Impact. For 200 dollars you can sponsor computer classes for an orphan for a whole year, 400 dollars brings them a new Classmate PC, and about 4000 dollars enables Orphan Impact to hire a teacher! ***