In 2008, Janet Foerster and Dave Sevick worked together on a project that brought 10 refurbished computers to a small school in Nicaragua.
In early November, Foerster and Edgar Largaespada set up two of those computers for a health fair at the Roberto Clemente Clinic in Tola, where Melissa Castillo, 10, sat with her mother, sister Diana, 2, and 12 other patients as they waited to see a doctor.
Largaespada walked past with an iMac on his shoulder. Diana climbed down from her seat and followed him.
Diana sat on the floor next to Largaespada as he tinkered with the keyboard. Melissa came to retrieve her sister, but lingered over Largaespada’s shoulder, stealing glances at the screen.
A doctor asked Melissa if she’d like to try the computer. She walked over to her mother and whispered in her ear. Her mother nodded.
Melissa took a seat in front of the computer as Largaespada gave instructions in Spanish. The girl reached out to touch the screen. Largaespada smiled, took her hand and placed it on the mouse.
He asked Melissa if she had family living abroad. Yes, she said, an aunt in Miami. He put his hand over hers and used the mouse to spin a virtual globe. Melissa leaned forward and pursed her lips as the shape of Florida came to rest at the center of the map.
“We’re witnessing the first time she’s ever used a computer,” Largaespada said.