OLPCorps Tulane University & UC Davis – Sierra Leone

XOs please… by jamesko
June 24, 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Rants and Raves

Over the first few days in-country our team has been very impressed with the level of enthusiam, but much more importantly, the level of preparation our partnering organizations have shown. As a result, we have almost finalized the list of participating children, community leaders are on-board and actively contributing to the development of the project, and we have made great strides towards solidifying cheap (relative to our original options), reliable internet.

If only we could get our laptops….

In an attempt to avoid the hassle of arranging the transportation of 100 laptops from Freetown to Kenema (a 5 or so hour journey), we asked DHL to deliver the shipment of XOs directly to Kenema (instead of the UNICEF office in Freetown). This may not have proven to be the best idea, as our shipment is now stuck in Customs and they want about $750 to release them (unlike the shipment for the other Sierra Leone team who had them delivered to UNICEF and had to pay no such fee). As these laptops are a charitable donation, gifted with the intent of advancing eduation within Sierra Leone we are quite dissapointed that the government would delay their arrival and impose such illegtimate  fees.

Despite the profound efforts made by one of our contacts, Joseph Zombo, and others, attempts at getting the XOs released have been fruitless thus far. Thankfully, we are in contact with members of the other Sierra Leone team (who have valuable contacts and are anxious to help), DHL, UNICEF, OLPCorp, and, our team met with the Anti-Corruption organization a few days ago (who offered to help if we were unable to resolve the matter ourselves). Our hope is that everything will be resolved in a timely fashion, without part of our operating budget having to be diverted to pay unnecessary Customs fees, and we can start classes sometime next week!

Again, a special thank you to all of those who have been working with us to try and resolve this issue! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.


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