Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Home for Old Computer

Today my neighbor’s used computer which had been clunking around in the back of our car took up residence in a new house. Most interested in the new thing that now occupies the bedroom where she and her family sleep was Michelle, a curious almost-3-year-old who speaks not a word of English.

I had arranged with Morena, the Hispanic woman who cleaned my old office, to bring the computer over to her house this morning, along with my husband who was kind enough to volunteer to hook it up and install some educational freeware.

She called this morning to ask that we take it to her daughter’s house (down the street) instead. Her daughter, who is 21, came from El Salvador 6 years ago, having spent her first 15 years living with her grandmother. She graduated from high school here and is gainfully employed cleaning government offices. She and Michelle and Michelle’s father and 3 other families live in a 4-bedroom house in suburban Maryland, which they OWN. With all of the adults in these families working, they are able to make the monthly mortgage payments and still have a relatively good life.

When we arrived, they had already cleared off a spot in their bedroom for the computer and Michelle was ready to help my husband with the installation. He loaded up software that will help Michelle learn the English alphabet and vocabulary, software that will some day show her where the 50 states are located and what their capitals are. She was already ready to push any and all buttons. They printed her name out on a piece of paper which she proudly carried around.

Meanwhile Morena was downstairs making typical El Salvadoran food for lunch. She has to be one of the best cooks I know. She served up chunks of savory pork cooked to perfection, rice, salad, and of course homemade tortillas.

As we got ready to leave, the daughter thanked us with tears in her eyes. She’s already thinking ahead to buying Internet service and has great plans for their new (old) computer.

I’m so glad I was able to see the computer in its new home as opposed to dumping it off at the Salvation Army.


Blogger Colette Amelia said...

wonderful! Do other cultures have the right idea? They live together and all help each other thereby reducing the stress, expenses, loneliness, workload?

It sure makes one appreciate all the excess that we have...and the great life that we have.

And it helps a person buck up and get in the groove to getting on with life! Thanks Barbara.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Colette -- I applaud these hard-working people who are not asking for a dime of welfare. They are a tight-knit community who provide a safety net for all members.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I thought I posted this earlier.....hmmm

Anyway. What a fantastic use for the old computer. Such a deserving family. And don't be too surprised if Michelle is teaching her grandmother how to use the computer in the next year or two!

5:19 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Just think how much better the world could be if we all followed your example!

7:05 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Excellent recycling! Cute pics of your darling husband, too.

Bravo! I salute you!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

So much more rewarding than a trip to the Salvation Army! Thanks for sharing the story and the pics.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

It's always great to see a piece of technology going to a place where it will used!

12:30 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Don't know where I got the name "Michelle".....meant Morena of course!

4:31 PM  
Blogger kimy said...

yeah!! love the happy ending for the computer needing a hope and enjoyed the photos accompanying the narrative. nice to get to put a face to your beloved husband and in just a few hours I get to put a face to my friend barbara!!!!!

thank goodness michelle and all the other are not subjected to some sort of ordinance to prohibit them from making a nice home...or do those rules apply only for renters? (just thinking of an earlier L2L post)

see you soon!

7:31 AM  

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