|Kesse, in the white shirt, reading, with his classic smile|
In last month’s issue of The Africa Report (your author’s favourite pan-African current affairs magazine), the cover article posed this question to African readers: Is Google Good for Us? Google has made a giant product push in Africa recently, and they are even making overtures to non-profits, such as us. “Why don’t you work on getting us better internet service?! Do you have an android app for that?” I un-diplomatically asked the earnest Google employees in Accra. “Do you know how hard it is to blog when the connection gets dropped mid-sentence?! Its cra
Google Analytics and Blogger stats, though, are turning into a remarkable cross-cultural tool here in Humjibre. Tracking what gets read, and, in this particular case, where it gets read, has helped pry open my young friend Kesse’s mind and blow it to smithereens. Of course, to see this, his smile just gets a bit bigger.
Do you remember Kesse? Kesse Asare is the young man in Junior High School in Humjibre that wrote a letter to our readers back in February asking for a computer for The Humjibre Community Library. Many of you spread the word and got on our Causes page and raised enough for a computer. When we had raised enough, we showed Kesse the blog post with his letter that started all this. It didn’t make a lot of sense to him at the time, but I’ve been reinforcing how cool all this is to Kesse for a while now. Now that Kesse has a slightly better conceptual basis for the internet, I’ve popped open my laptop and showed him Google stats.
“People in India read our blog when it was posted! They might have read your letter!” I said.
“But I addressed the letter to Americans…I thought.” He was confused again.
“On the internet, everything you write is addressed to world!” I said, my voice squeaking with excitement. If Kesse wasn’t careful, I was going to launch into a rant about global consciousness through social media, Marshal McLuhan vs. Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, and a bunch of other half-baked notions…
Sometime ago, Kesse approached me in the library. “I have written a letter thanking those who helped for the computer.” Immediately, I asked if I could post it. Kesse said yes, and after a pause, he said “It is written for those who have helped, but I think anyone can read it.” If there is a more succinct definition of blogging, I’m not sure I’ve heard it. So here is Kesse’s letter, written for a few, but as with all great things on the internet, open for all to read. I’ve tried to keep the syntax and style as distinctly as he wrote it.
PERMISSION TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP
It’s me Kesse again. I have heard about the computer, and that it has been sent!
Thank you for your help and I always say anyone who helps us will have 120 years before he or she is dead.
And my greeting goes to your children, your wife and your friends. I say good day!
I know God has helped you. If you use 10,000, and God will multiply it by 12,000* and so on and so on.
Kwasi Asare Kesse Bediako
‘The Prince of Sefwi Humjibre’
Since he wrote this letter, the computer has been set up in the library by Lawrence Donkor. Kesse and his friends have been using it often. There are no Google products on the computer (currently, our already overburdened office internet connection, working through an antenna held up by a tall piece of bamboo, is not reaching the library), but weird stats on page views isn’t what will make Kesse realize the power of his words. The computer sitting in front of him does. I hope he uses it to keep blogging.
*That’s 120,000,000 Karma points in case you’re curious…