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Old Laptops Gain New Life in DRC

Last year, just before Christmas, Jacob Lipandasi, the SIA Small Business Fund (SBF) Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received a gift in the mail – a laptop computer. Since then, Jacob has used the laptop, which was donated to SIA, to greatly benefit his community and SIA.

As a SIA SBF Coordinator, Jacob receives a small stipend to cover office expenses associated with sending reports and keeping in touch with the SIA office, however, this amount is rarely enough to cover all costs. Before the gift of the laptop, Jacob had to travel a great distance and pay $1-3 USD/hour to use a computer at an internet cafe. As a result, his emails were brief and often a long time passed between our letters.

The laptop greatly improved his experience. Now Jacob can write his reports and letters to SIA at home on the laptop. He can take his time to write thoughtful responses and take time to figure out the English phrases he may not know (they speak French in the DRC). Then he puts the letters on a flash drive and brings that to the Internet cafe, which means he only has to pay for as much time as it takes to get online and send out his letters. I’ve been impressed by how much more thorough his reports are now that he can compose letters on his own time without having to pay for every second on the computer.

Not wanting to keep this great gift all for himself, Jacob Lipandasi gets together with his wife Jacky Buhoro and SIA SBF Coordinators Benoit Malenge (DRC) and Francois Hamuli (Rwanda) once a month to “Share the Gift” by giving them computer training lessons. Above they are pictured meeting to discuss their work with SIA, practice their English, learn to use Word and Excel, and pray together.

When Ric Shafer contacted us offering to donate his old laptop he warned that it worked fine but was slow. However, Jacob reports that the “laptop is doing miracles in our life”!

We never know how we are able to help someone else, or how much good a small gesture can do, until we do it – that’s Spirit in action!

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