Painting and Story by Lehan Winifred Ramsay
When I came back from Vietnam I was pretty excited about this orphanage request, I wanted to start a collaboration. I thought that I could get my students and a bunch of old computers and head over there for a workshop.
But there was something that did hold me back even at that time. Which was the question of enduring and permanent change.
Anything that was going to be a temporary distraction was really not going to help anyone but us; myself, who would be using this to advance in my teaching and research career, and my students, who would get a huge explosion of ideas and understandings. For those kids, for that orphanage, it would be like hosting a G8 summit; the glow of warmth and significance and then nothing but an emptier-than-usual larder.
Anything to do with computers and technology dies as soon as somebody doesn’t understand how to fix something, and that something can be as small as how to turn something on. Of course, we could have run around and found local people to get involved.
But wouldn’t the orphanage have thought of that? Anyway, I’m sure that now, in 2013, there are enough cheap tablets to go round, and plenty more where they came from.
Events caught up with me, and I didn’t do the project, the collaboration. Even then I was really not confident that I could do something that wouldn’t be a waste of their time. I am in two minds about this action that I have taken, this action of doing nothing but spend eight years thinking about what I could do.
If Bill Gates did nothing but sit around thinking about how to cure the world’s malaria, it would achieve as little as I have achieved. Which is nothing.
If we had done something and one child had been positively influenced in some way it would have been better than this nothing. Even just gathering some money together and sending it to the orphanage would have been better than this nothing, surely.