In the summer of 2014, through a series of random connections that include a restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, and Facebook, I served in Shell, Ecuador at an organization called Casa De Fe. When I was invited to visit, I was unsure what exactly I would be doing, but I felt it was where I needed to be that summer. The organization is an orphanage and school that serves local children who have been abandoned by their parents or have special needs. It was truly a remarkable experience, and what I learned there helped form Nerds Abroad.
When I arrived, there were both long-term and short-term mission teams there from several places around the USA. I initially helped the short-term teams with some of their work with building walls and cleaning up the property, but I felt drawn towards working with the long-term and summer staff. I asked how I could serve the organization better during my time in Ecuador and immediately they showed me a laundry-list of technology needs at the home and the school. Most of the tasks were simple fixes, and I was able to work with a local tech expert to finish some more advanced work. Through a conversation with this worker and the staff, I realized that they had a need for tech help regularly. If I was able to learn technology, why not teach their staff the same skills?
When I returned home from this trip, I began formulating our TechBox℠ program as a strategic guide to teach the Casa De Fe staff to take care of their technology needs through our training program. Our next step with this organization is running a focus group early next year to more closely assess their technology needs and further refine our curriculum.
We look forward to continuing to work with Casa De Fe, and using our findings to aid other organizations around the globe!