Good Laptops in Africa for People

I Ingo,

thank you for the positive feedback and I would certainly enjoy discussing this with you further, whenever you find the time. I hope to leave to Africa in about a year so if by then you run into some organisation or whatever which can collect used laptops, I’m a whiz at them and can whip them into shape for the villages. Would be cool. Or any other ideas you might have.

Have a good one,


On Sat, Dec 26, 2009 at 7:47 PM, Ingo wrote:

Hi Karel,

I think it is a fantastic idea and I would like to support you in whichever way possible. Unfortunately we only translate novels from English into German so I don’t see an immediate need for translators into African languages. I would be delighted, however, to put your link onto our website (but even that will have to wait a couple of months). I also happen to be quite handy with Linux which I assume would be your operating system of choice for laptops. I tried to get businesses in Munich (where we are currently based) to donate old laptops for Africa but didn’t generate a lot of excitement. I may try again now that you have provided me with something to show. Feel free to contact me re any of the above! I am frantically busy until the end of January but things may just ease off a little after that. Keep up the good work, happy Boxing Day and don’t work up a sweat 🙂


Hello Marinus,

I’d say one of the reasons why I am doing this is because I want to do good in God’s eyes, for all that he has done for me. But by extending God’s grace in this way, the definition of grace is often to extend it to those who seemingly do not deserve it, as was the case with me, in the hope that they will learn from it and react positively to it. On the laptops I want to put a bible with translation, and perhaps occasionally I will mention God in conversation, or if people ask me why I am doing this, but other than that, if you knew me or talked to people who know me well, everyone agrees that I do not push this issue. I myself can get rather turned off by ranting fundamental Christians who push their agenda. I call that “formula Christianity” and their motivations are driven by their own desire to get into heaven and their belief that the more they “save” (convert to their own formula Christianity) the more brownie points they will get in heaven. I believe this is a wrong and selfish motivation and that they’re potentially missing the entire point of what God’s grace is about. It is a lengthy topic to try and explain.

I also believe that God blessed me with a lot of compassion, which is another reason why I am doing this. I feel that with the global warming people in Africa will suffer horribly in the not so distant future and I’d like to help them avoid it. They will not be able to survive on traditional farming. I think it will get very desperate down there and this could be quenched to a certain degree if they have other means of earning income.

And my last motivation is that I simply want to do something with my life that I am proud of and feel a purpose. I sit behind this computer maybe 16 hours a day. I want more people interaction and to do something useful. Just making money for myself feels hollow and not very rewarding.

Just received a lengthy response from an NGO who has been working for decades in Kenya and he has painted a picture roughly correlating to my worst expectations. Realistic. Because I want to do something useful, one thing that burns and annoys me is when lots of my energy and efforts go to waste. For this reason I will be quite careful about giving away solar panels. I have to think about this carefully, but if I give anyone anything, they have to convince me that they will put it to good use and that they will be able to protect it. I also want to communicate with the government about some sort of protection, or safer areas, etc. I’m not interested in driving all the way down there to get robbed or worse. I’m sensible. Anyway, we have about a year, so hopefully I’ll be able to make some good preparations by that time.

Thank you for your feedback,


On Sun, Dec 27, 2009 at 4:15 AM, Marinus wrote:

Hi Karel

I’m still thinking about your business proposal/development support. It could be viable, but I have two concerns: is the help provided in any way connected to a religious organization. I see that you quote the Bible on your website, so I suppose you are a Christian. If a poor African farmer is an atheist or an animist, would you help them, too? Is there a requirement to visit a church or any other religious or political institution? Secondly: should this endeavour take off, how could we ensure that no local maffia-like structure will take over? Who will manage things fairly over there when you are not available?


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