Some folks in Venezuela have gotten pretty creative in delivering books to remote villages in the Andes: instead of bookmobiles, use mules! It’s a
n environmentally friendly simple solution to a big problem, using the resources they already have. But here’s the most ingenious part of the story …
Somehow there is already a limited mobile phone signal here, so the organisers are taking advantage of that and equipping the mules with laptops and projectors. […] “We want to install wireless modems under the banana plants so the villagers can use the internet,” says Robert Ramirez, the co-ordinator of the university’s Network of Enterprising Rural Schools [NERS]. “Imagine if people in the poor towns in the valley can e-mail saying how many tomatoes they’ll need next week, or how much celery. The farmers can reply telling them how much they can produce. It’s blending localisation and globalisation.”
Will they actually get the buy-in from the folks in the valley, and from the farmers, that they’d need to make this work? Can they provide the training and support the townspeople will need just to learn how to use these tools? Is the required infrastructure (read: a reliable electric grid) present? Who knows – I’m just excited about NERS’ desire to fill a specific need.