[Hpn] Net access for all in UK is prime minister Blair's aim

Harmony Foster Kieding fosterharmony@savethisplanet.com
Sat, 16 Sep 2000 01:52:36 -0700

"Could "Universal Access to the Internet" help to "change the relations of
power" or help to "narrow the rich-poor gap" globally - or in your nation?

Has "Internet Activism" thus far helped to "redistribute power and wealth"
or helped to "reduce poverty and homelessness"?  If so, please cite

I'll address the last item: "Has "Internet Activism thus far helped to reduce
poverty and homelessness".
In the case of me and my husband, absolutely YES. The Internet was a key role
in helping us out of homelessness, in at least a couple of different ways.
BT (my husband) and I were homeless in San Luis Obispo (and  notorious Santa
Cruz) California. A three D friend of ours, YBeth, together with another friend
Mary, gave us a free VW van to live in, for starters. The van had been sitting
unused on an industrial parking lot for two years. All it needed was a new battery!!

(The Internet part comes shortly).
Once we had both wheels and a roof over our head in one fell swoop, mu husband
BT and I retrieved our computer from storage. With a little ingenuity on BT's
part (which,um,I can't exactly go into) all of a sudden we were on ICQ in our
van, and talking with our contacts there, including BT's family in Norway.
Instantly  communication had changed from waiting days to send and receive snail
mail,(while we waited for it broke and hungry) to being able to ask for help
instantly. And our family and three-d and online friends came through for us.
(Bless them forever and always!!).
My online "family" in my chat room sent us enough money so that we could survive
and carry out needed errands. The one "thing" with our free van was that it
needed a hard to find smog control device in order for us to register it.
After having one vehicle seized from me by the CHP, the last thing I wanted
was for our home-on-wheels to go the same way, too, so this was important. Thanks
to our internet friends and our family, we were able to get the device and register
our van.
Along with that, another key ingredient was our ability to access the Internet
in the public library system. And once again, through both emails and networking
with our friends in chat rooms, BT and I were able to get vitally needed help.
At one point, before we had the van, one online friend from the UK wired us
money so that we could stay in a motel for a week. This came at a time when
I had serious bronchitis and a temporature of about 101. The homeless shelter
in San Luis Obispo turns everyone out onto the streets, sick or not, rain or
shine. (And the day center for the homeless in San Luis Obispo is no great place
to rest and recover in, either).
One of the great "ironies" of our whole homeless situation was that, although
not one of my family offered BT and me a roof over our heads for even one night
in the six months we were homeless, a number of our three d and online friends
I finally got a chance to meet a good online buddy of mine who lives in Minnesota.
I'm simplifying this a bit in order to condense this account, but basically
BT and I stayed with my friend Daniel and his family for three months until
I could join BT in Norway.
As I write this today, BT and I have a roof over our heads. In Norway. I am
going to school to learn Norwegian, and BT has a computer programming job. We
could not have been able to make it to this point had it not been for the Internet
and our online and offline friends. 

Harmony Kieding

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