I found out later that the machine was being shared by our student and four others. Anandharapura, where these chaps hail from, is not wealthy. It struck me as simply wrong that medical students should be forced to resort to sharing a laptop to prepare for their examinations - although we had at least ensured there was a laptop for them to share. So I posted about it and various people, including the lovely @shelo9 and @toffeeprincess came forward with offers of old laptops they'd cleaned up.
Lenovo got in touch on Twitter and also offered to help. And help they did - two sparkling and rather sleek ex-demo S-Series machines were duly conjured up and handed over. And here's the cool bit - with absolutely no expectation of anything in return. I had been dreading the request for a photo of the students with their new machines or something and I couldn't have been more wrong. "We're really happy to help and do let us know if we can do more," the Man From Lenovo said (@mkdubai, as you ask). I was blown away to tell the truth - left there open-mouthed clutching two long boxes full of smart notebook.
So our students are now kitted out. But there are more of them out there - students from villages and families too poor to be able to afford to give them the PC they need for their studies - and we've now established a line of communication and supply through a philanthropically inclined community Doctor we know in Kandy who has been helping identify clear cases of need. There are very many of these - we appear to have uncovered a terrible lack, but be easily in possession of the solution.
Members of the Sri Lankan community here in the UAE who are travelling home are taking the machines with them one at a time so we don't have to pay customs to the awful government responsible for this whole state of affairs in the first place. And that feels rather marvellous, as it happens. There are no middle men or administrators, this is simply a community thing. It's a much more efficient form of giving that goes straight from one community to another.
So if you have a dusty but functional notebook in your life that's given way to your sleek new Ultrabook, do feel free to clean it up (ie remove your personal data) and drop it off to The Archive (Gate 5, Safa Park), where the lovely Sarah and Bethany will happily take delivery of your bounty so we can get it over to Sri Lanka and help a young medical student rather than have it just gathering dust under the stairs. Don't for a second think you don't need to bother because others will take them along - it would appear we can use them all. So please do feel free to share a link to this post or just let friends know to drop off those old machines at The Archive.
Oh - and we could use some laptop bags, too.
And thank you, Lenovo. You rocked this week.