Balder and Joost, both live in Amsterdam when they're not travelling the world. While they know each other for years, it was still a big challenge to travel together. Preparation of the Tokelau Voyage started months ahead by choosing the right schedule, and the right time to go. They prepared and packed and planned to visit an island resembling Fantasy Island or Bounty Island? (no link to the chocolate bar). The diary starts in Apia, capital of the country of Western Samoa.
Part 5: Fakaofo - Fakaofo Internet Corner.
The main purpose of the trip was to install a high-speed Internet connection on Tokelau. However, Tokelau consists out of three atolls, many hours sailing from each other. The Dot TK team elected Fakaofo to be the first one to receive Internet connectivity through satellite. Before the connection came in place, speeds of 9600 bps were the standard, not enough speed to even browse a web page!
Please read the Tokelau Voyage story about the installation of high-speed Internet on Tokelau
Next thing after setting up the high speed Internet connection was teaching the people of Fakaofo how to work with it. We prepared at home course manuals to make it possible to give the people a course on computers and Internet. There were three main chapters, the first one on what a computer is and how to operate one; second one on basic Internet and the third one on advanced Internet use. In this way we could teach someone who never even had seen a computer how to use one and someone who did how to go to the next level.
The first course day only five people showed up, not really as expected, but as a start not bad. The younger students already had some experience with computers and Internet, the older ones had not. Especially the possibility of email had their interest, because more than 6000 Tokelau people are living overseas, this in comparison of 1500 people living on the islands. The news of New Zealand that day was that there had been a major earthquake on the south island, normally this kind of news would reach the islands in two weeks (that's when the next boat arrives) or even maybe never. Now this news is really news and can be followed with interest. This made a big impression, because the students all had relatives living there.
The following day more and more people started to come to the Fakaofo Internet Corner, where they could get instructions or just surfed the web or sent email. Because of the word of mouth within a few days almost 30 people followed the Internet course and a lot of people made use of Internet. And that all because you are making the Dot TK project work!