One of the best things that happens during charitable endeavors are the individual acts of kindness you encounter. That’s definitely the case in my campaign to bring used computers to educate Mayan children in Chiapas, Mexico.
A prior column titled “The face of poverty” has prompted some cool donations. One man brought me a high-powered radio, and others have sent money for the mounting costs of this wide-spread campaign.
My favorite donation thus far came from an elderly woman whose voice was a bit raspy. She had an older computer to donate, but also inquired if we could use quilts for the children, but mentioned it was probably too hot in Chiapas.
I thought for a second and observed that most of the Mayans there live at altitudes between 6,000 to 9,000 feet. They use heavy blankets due to the chilly nights. Handmade quilts from Idaho would be appreciated, and I bring their woven goods home for gifts because they are so beautiful.
The kind woman invited me to her house across from Indian Hills Elementary School. When I arrived she had 10 quilts stacked for the children. She said her quilting club would make more for me to take to the border of Mexico in October with the computers.
The quilts are touching and pretty handy for packing the computers. Friends and family are now collecting computers in 10 states. I will travel to most of these states in late August and September to gather the donations.
My friend Nacho, the vanilla man from Mexico, will fly to Pocatello in late October to help me drive the computers to Laredo (with computer gathering stops in South Dakota and Texas). A truck with permits will meet us at the border, and Nacho will have the computers flown to Chiapas to avoid problems with transport across virtually all of Mexico (think cartels).
Given the number of computers being donated, with more to follow, a large moving truck should be needed. If anyone knows of a company willing to donate the use of a commercial truck, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-234-9292. I plan to fly back from Texas, and Nacho will return to Chiapas from the border.
Saeid Rezai, at Galaxy Computer on Yellowstone, asked me to refine our request for donations. He is personally cleaning and inspecting all of the computers to ensure that they will function upon arrival in Mexico; it’s far more assistance than Saeid said was possible for his business to donate when this project was initiated.
We are now asking people to donate useable laptops; ones that turn on and can run either a Windows 7 or 10 program. If your computers are heavily damaged (some appear to have been run over by semi-trucks), it’s too expensive to repair them. Their value is less than $1, but Saeid will recycle them.
The project can also use iPads and compact desktop computers. At my request, people have taken the computers to the Idaho State Journal, but it’s better if you will continue delivering them to Galaxy Computers at 1424 Yellowstone Ave. in Pocatello. Saeid is licensed and bonded to swipe the computers clean of your confidential information. He is also donating this service to our campaign and is another hero.
I know many heroes, but the one who has particularly touched me is the lady whose quilting club has donated beautiful blankets for the children in Chiapas. Why not keep them warm while they study for the possibility of a better life?
It also touched me to learn that my quilt donor was the assistant to Mrs. Manning who taught my children in kindergarten. She remembered Patrick and Chelsey, telling me several colorful stories; I guess it’s hard to forget rascals.
The generosity people exhibit in helping others has touched me. Thank you for your donations — please keep them coming. In late October we will stuff as many laptops, iPads and compact desktops as we possibly can into a hopefully large truck. I suspect those quilts will be received with the same appreciation they will have for the computers. Thank you dear lady with your elderly voice. It’s never too late to extend kindness to those in need.
Jesse Robison is a Pocatello native educated in Idaho. He works as a mediator and insurance claim consultant, but his passion is public art. Robison has spearheaded art improvements throughout Pocatello, including the Kizuna Garden located at the Pocatello airport, and serves on the Bistline Foundation.