Stunning, Profound Ignorance Of International Cultures: 3B3K

I was watching a Nigerian television interview with pop singer Nneka Lucia Egbuna this morning, and making travel plans with Ghana Electronics Technician and new WR3A Board Member Emmanuel Eric Prempeh Nyaletey.   Eric will be attending this year's Resource Recycling E-Scrap Conference in Orlando.

Nigeria has morning news programs, kind of like our Today Show, or CBS This Morning, which people in Lagos watch while drinking coffee in their apartment buildings, getting ready for the morning traffic jams and commute to work.

Over the years, WR3A has sponsored travel to E-Scrap conferences for many international representatives.  Su Fung and Allen Liu of Malaysia, Roberto and Alice Valenzuela, and Oscar A. Orta and Mariano Huchim of Mexico, Wahab Muhammed Odoi of Ghana, Souleymane Sao of Senegal, Hamdy Mousa of Egypt, to name a few.  Emmanuel Eric is special, however.  He's a geek from Accra who was head technician for Good Point Recycling in Vermont for 2 years, and he flew back to Ghana last spring to revisit Agbogbloshie and the tech/repair warehouses in Accra.

Emmanuel Eric Prempeh Nyaletey fixes Good Point Security Camera
Emmanuel Eric will be circulating the #FreeHurricaneBenson petition, and trying to get people to renew their memberships.  He'll also be answering questions about Africa.

No, they don't all have Ebola.   No, they don't pay money to import e-waste for copper value.  Yes, they have had television and computers for decades and generate their own e-scrap. 

Emmanuel Eric is now on a full scholarship for coding at Georgia Tech, but we are looking for people to help us pay him to keep him at least part time working for Fair Trade Recycling.

When I lived in Africa for 30 months, 30 years ago (1984-86), Emmanuel Eric would have been an infant.  His experience as a resident of a big city (he was a maintenance technician for Nestle Corporation in Accra) is very different from my experience in more rural Ngaoundal, Cameroon.  But more importantly, Eric speaks about Africa without the "exoticisms" and bragging pride that you see in the average Youtube documentary about e-scrap.

David Fedele, Pieter Hugo, Jim Puckett, Cosima Dannoritzer, Sam Goldwater, and other "great white saviors" have made a nice little career out of "povertyporn" photography and ghoulish halloweenish images of Africans.  They sell pictures of poor kids, surrounded by the old tech generated by Lagos, Accra, and other 3B3K cities (3 billion people earning $3k per year live in rapidly emerging urban cities).   They aren't afraid to stand toe to toe with yours truly on the subject of what its like bringing internet and television to 6.9M Nigerian households between 1990 and 2006, and whether the glass is half full or half empty.   I've made the point in about as many ways as I can think to make it.

I'd like to see them lecture Eric.  Or put their camera lenses on him and ask him questions about what is, and isn't, the truth in Ghana.

If you are headed to the conference, keep an eye out for Eric.   He's got a different set of experiences than Wahab, Souleymane, or Hamdy.  But they all agree, it's a mistake to boycott the poor, and the utmost irony in using photos of poverty to justify the boycott.

Putting Joe Benson into a British prison really is the last straw.   Please sign Eric's petition, and give some thought to paying for a WR3A membership.  With Wahab, Fahiri, Oscar, Martijn and Heather Agyepong ("The Gaze on Agbogbloshie"), Eric is bringing environmentalism 3.0 to the table.

5 x not Eric

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