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Thunder Bay sends computers to school in Ecuadorian jungle.

Thunder Bay sends computers to school in Ecuadorian jungle.

It is a long way for computers no longer needed by the Lakehead District School Board to end up being used in a school in the Ecuadorian jungle in South America. But miracles still happen!

The story begins when Canadian professional-development, training consultants John and Naomi Hall who are missionaries with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, became involved with the Colegio Emanuel in the community of Macas in the upper Amazon headwaters of eastern Ecuador. The school is reached by a breathtaking 8-hour bus ride down the side of the Andes mountains! The school of approximately 480 students provides classes from kindergarten to grade 12.

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Education requires computer education for high school graduation. Emanuel School had no student computers and no budget to purchase them. The school reached out to the Halls, who have done teacher workshops throughout Latin America, for help. The Halls, having seen the work of MEMO equipping hospitals and schools in El Salvador, contacted the MEMO team in Thunder Bay.

MEMO (Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity) is a Thunder Bay humanitarian organization working as a ministry of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Thunder Bay. MEMO recycles used but still useful equipment to Third World Countries. To date, MEMO has shipped 106 full sized ocean containers to needy countries saving the local landfill from redundant medical supplies and equipment.

Meanwhile, John Loovere, Supervisor of Computer Services for the Lakehead District School Board, had been providing many redundant (by Canadian standards) computers to MEMO for use overseas. The computers were refurbished by LDSB IT technicians. Tom Baxter, MEMO’s operations manager, with assistance from volunteer Brendan Kennedy, finalized preparation of 20 laptops to fulfil this request from Ecuador.

But how to get them from Thunder Bay to the jungle school in Ecuador? MEMO learned that a work team from a church in Salem, Oregon was going to Emanuel School, Ecuador, July 6th and was willing to carry the 20 laptops in their suitcases. At this point, Thunder Bay’s export company Border Giant operated by James Foulds, stepped in and offered to carry them across the U.S. border at Pigeon River, do the customs work, and send them on by UPS to Salem Oregon.
What are the chances of all this coming together to provide a jungle school in Ecuador with computers from Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada? That is why we call it a “miracle”!

If you would like to learn more about MEMO’s work, explore our website further, or even better, go to the EVENTS tab to see contact information to reserve your place at our 20th Anniversary Celebration Fundraiser Dinner on Sunday September 29, 6 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Centre.

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