Category: Ghana

Leaving San Francisco (2001)

June 3rd, 2009 — 9:48pm

Originally posted on August 10, 2001 on, the Geekcorps volunteers’ site:

San FranciscoI am now part of the G3 group of geeks. I am leaving San Francisco for four months. I have been here since the early 90’s, when the city was sleepy and cafes were filled with people writing novels and at parties everyone wore cool purple hats and sparkly clothing but didn’t have jobs. By 1995, I was working in a web company out of a garage and we knew what to do on weekends because Craig Newmark sent some of his friends an email list. I had gotten the job after reading Laura Lemay’s Learn HTML in a Week and I did. At my interview, I sat on a ripped couch in the garage and talked to a bearded Stanford computer science graduate who still had a Brooklyn accent after 20 years in the Bay Area. He asked me to describe a technology goal that I had.

Before coming to San Francisco, I had spent a lot of time in a small village in the north of Bali where the local rice farmers didn’t have electricity, and making a phone call meant borrowing someone’s motorbike and driving nine kilometers to the nearest town, going to the telephone office there and waiting while the operator tried to reach Jakarta. I imagined that one day technology could improve the communication in that village, that the junior high teacher with his tattered books could find materials online, that there could be a kind of clean economic development that wouldn’t rend the landscape with Industrial Revolution smokestacks and blackened rivers, wouldn’t mar that green and shimmering rice-paddy landscape filled with tree spirits. Continue reading »

3 comments » | Africa, Bali, Change, Ghana, San Francisco

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