Here is a letter I received from Dave T, printed in its entirety:
Last Fall I discovered Chemists Without Borders when I was preparing
to accompany a Rotary group to Ethiopia and Uganda. With the group
scheduled to visit several potable water projects being developed by
Rotary, I considered taking along water testing kits and doing some
water quality tests. However I discovered that United States
regulations prohibits taking out of the US even simple Hach water
test kits such are used for teaching in our schools. So while we did
visit several water projects, I was unable to do any testing. We did
find that large areas have hand pumped wells where family members
routinely obtain presumably potable water and then carry it in 5
gallon plastic containers several miles for use in their homes.
Bottled water and Coke was universally available and widely sold in
both countries. The price of Coke was the equivalent of a few cents
per recycled glass bottle. There was very little variety of either
beverages or food.
I was impressed that while the standard of living remains low for
many people, televisions and cell phones abound, and Internet access
is being brought to schools and libraries. When we visited political
leaders and schools in both countries we received repeated requests
for “America, send us teachers.” We found classes typically crowded
and many schools teaching two shifts of children each day.
While it is unlikely that a significant number of American teachers
will help in east Africa, I see no reason why American teachers
cannot modify current instructional chemistry lessons and experiment
directions and post them on a single web site or at least link to a
common site so that peoples in developing nations can easily access
free systematic instruction and gain secondary and higher education
without having to seek funding for study elsewhere. We could deliver
education at many orders of magnitude less expense than either
sending teachers or as Rotarians are currently doing, sending
shipping containers of discarded surplus library books.
I have been probing to determine whether effective instructional
activities might be developed for such use. I have posted both
photographs from Africa and test versions of chemistry and physics
lessons on my web site: URL http://www.SequimScience.com/ I invite
CWB readers to contribute activity and experiment directions and
related instruction content as well as suggest other creative ideas
which could be further developed. This is another way that CWB could
cause an enormous benefit for these peoples.
PLease post comments!