March 22, 2004 - The Grand Rapids Press: RPCV Mike Jaeger helps ships computers to Cameroon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Peace Corps Cameroon: The Peace Corps in Cameroon: March 22, 2004 - The Grand Rapids Press: RPCV Mike Jaeger helps ships computers to Cameroon

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 4:36 pm: Edit Post

RPCV Mike Jaeger helps ships computers to Cameroon

Peace Corps in Cameroon

RPCV Mike Jaeger helps ships computers to Cameroon

Band concert raises funds to ship computers overseas

Monday, March 22, 2004
By Kym Reinstadler
The Grand Rapids Press

WEST OTTAWA -- Woodstock signifies the music of a generation.

"Wostock" signifies the technology of a nation.

Hundreds of students and fans of the professional and garage bands attended the live music festival Wostock on Friday and Saturday nights at West Ottawa High School.

The event is the annual fund-raiser of the West Ottawa student group CTEE (Cultural Technological Environmental Exchange), which seeks donations of used computer equipment, refurbishes them and gives them to the developing African nation of Cameroon.

Ticket sales from the event will go toward shipping 100 rebuilt computers this spring to Longla Comprehensive College in Bemenda, Cameroon, where Peace Corps volunteers will help install them and train local people to operate them.

Every second year, a contingent of CTEE students travels to Cameroon to spend two weeks setting up computer labs, getting to know local people and sometimes helping with agriculture and community service projects.

CTEE set up the first computer network in Cameroon during its initial humanitarian mission in 1998.

"Going to Cameroon was a life-changing experience for me," said Deanna Morris, a senior who journeyed with the group to Cameroon last summer. "It's impossible to explain how great an impact you make, and how much they appreciate you just being there."

Outside of the nation's best hotels, computers still are rare in Cameroon, Morris said. Most homes do not have electricity. Internet cafes have begun to crop up in recent years, but many people can't afford the user fee, she said.

Many of the people of Cameroon speak English, albeit with a Pigeon accent, so communicating was not much of a problem, Morris said.

The greater challenge, she said, was the country's tropical weather. There is no air conditioning, and temperatures soar in the cement-block computer labs with concrete floors, so sometimes personal computers malfunction in excessive heat.

Students say access to technology is an important tool to helping a country develop in the information age.

Most of the computers West Ottawa students have been refurbishing on weekends all year are 5- to 8-year-old technology donated after industry upgrades.

Computers that will be shipped to Cameroon this spring were donated by Herman Miller, Gentex, Metropolitan Title and Purdue University.

Student Justin Hook is among a half-dozen computer-savvy members of CTEE who handle the refurbishing and coach others in a white-glove cleaning of all the components.

Although technology is the currency of helping, one need not be a "geek" to be active in CTEE, he said.

While music is the means for moving the technology, one also does not need to be a performer, although some of them are.

Hook and three other CTEE members have a band called Chocked Full, which performed Friday on one of the two Wostock stages. As memorable as the band's music is their stage attire. Three members perform in white lab coats while wearing red flowerpots on their heads. The fourth wears a vintage black suit with a skinny tie.

Among the professional bands that performed at Wostock were Joust, Pop Evil and Slant.

Popular local bands that took the stage are Sweet Something Else, CORE, the Eclectic Rock Orchestra and Bipolar.

Last year, Wostock raised $4,000 toward shipment of the computers. CTEE hoped to raise twice that figure this year so more computers could be shipped by air.

Surface shipping requires 10 weeks, compared to three days for air freight, said Mike Jaeger, a science teacher who is the club's adviser.

Jaeger is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

In addition to Wostock, CTEE raises money by sponsoring a euchre tournament, Ping-Pong tournament and movie discussion night.

© 2004 Grand Rapids Press. Used with permission

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Story Source: The Grand Rapids Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Computers



By Acha ( - on Friday, April 25, 2008 - 8:28 am: Edit Post

Sir I am a Cameroonian born maritime student in the Regional Maritime University Ghana . I am in search of a company to work with .Can you help?

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