Technology goes to Haiti to die. I mean that literally. When I was in Haiti (in January 2016), I was amazed at the lack of recent technology. It wasn’t just that only some people had mobile phones, it was that of the few phones I saw they were mostly 4yrs old or more. In fact, the missionary that we were staying with opened a package one evening that had phones in it. There were three iPhones. One iPhone 4s with a busted screen. One iPhone 4s that wasn’t unlocked. One iPhone 5 that was unlocked. Of the three, only the iPhone 5 was able to be used. Nobody wants a busted screen with shards of glass sticking out – not even in Haiti. A phone that is locked to a USA carrier cannot work in Haiti and so it was useless. The iPhone 5 was the item to be celebrated because it could actually run the latest apple updates and apps.

Technology in Haiti doesn’t age well

This event gave me some very real and very helpful knowledge. Nobody wants broken stuff. Don’t give a worn out couch to your church (because you don’t want it anymore and maybe they can still get some use out of it), and don’t give a missionary a busted phone. They can’t use it either. Also, they aren’t 2nd class people who can “just make due.”

So those two useless chunks of technology likely ended up in a trash pile in Haiti. The same apple updating process that renders them unwanted in the USA renders them useless in 3rd world countries. I really wish there was a ministry/company that could perhaps flash older iphones with a new os to support them, or just given them access to newer apps that were stripped down.

Technology is needed in Haiti

Ultimately what I learned was that people in places like Haiti aren’t just lacking technology, they lack the right technology. Sometimes the right technology is a very recent phone. Sometimes the right technology is a Macbook that is a few years old. A car can be pretty old and still useful down there. But everything has a lifespan. That usefl lifespan doesn’t magically change just because someone who is poor is using it.

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