Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Will We Do?

Here's a thought provoking post I found at Waving or Drowning. What will we do?

Too Close For ComfortI was struck by one of those thoughts the other day. You know the kind, where there's an audible "crack", and the ground beneath your feet shifts suddenly, throwing you off balance. I'll tell you about it, and you can let me know how it strikes you.

Pete and I were checking out, and discussing the whole One Laptop Per Child concept when the "incident" occurred. Admittedly, I was dead-set against the idea when it first came out. Nicholas Negroponte is brilliant, but this idea was crazy. I was bothered by all the energy going into the development of a $100 laptop when there are countless children still dying because of a lack of clean water, food, medicine worth pennies, or a mosquito bite. I'm still not sold on the concept , but I'm open to having my mind changed. It remains to be seen.

Regardless, there we were checking out the features of the XO laptop on the impressive web site. Heavy duty antennae, rotating screen, built-in camera and microphone - this thing has everything you need to get online. (Not much of a hard drive, but that's beside the point.)

Wait a minute...


Built-in camera and microphone?

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I thought about all the people I met in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya earlier this year. The adults. The children.

What if?

What if, by some miracle, one of these friends gets online?

What if my computer beeped one night?

What if I tapped the keyboard and saw one of those faces staring back at me?

"Hi Mike. I haven't eaten in two days. What should I do?"

"Hi Mike. My little sister has malaria and she'll be dead in a week if we don't get her medicine. We have no money. What should I do?"

What if my friend looks through her screen, over my shoulder, and sees my four walls and a roof, and my hardwood floors. What if she sees my dinner on the table. What if she sees my flat screen and multiple pairs of shoes by the door?

What if?

The world just got way too small.

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'