August 21

Social Media for Good When Times are Bad

To connect more locally, and connect less electronically, I made resolution to scale back my use of electronics and media when I arrived in Lao. It’s enabled me be part of the “here” instead of watching it go by “there.” Eyes up instead of nose down.

It’s the rainy season in Lao: Really rainy, time-to-turn-my-scooter-in-for-an-ark rainy.

In my first weeks in Lao, there was talk of “what if”, and then “what now?” when the rain combined with engineering led to the failure of an auxiliary dam and 170 billion cubic feet of water took its toll in southern Lao. (If you missed that news, search on Attapeu Flood.) It hit the news and since then my mobile has been going off like New Year’s Eve with friends, family, connections from my “there” life checking to make sure I was safe “here.”.

Meanwhile I was reaching out to Lao connections doing the same, checking in about their wellbeing and what we could do to help, my “here” life.

With mobile technology we could check on local volunteer initiatives (thank you FB), collections, where to funnel donations. We could stay in touch with co-workers traveling to safer areas, and learn how their extended families were doing.

The best connection, better than a strong wireless signal, was the human one, was seeing my “here” friends and coworkers safe and sound.

There’s a time and a place for wireless connectivity and social media, and I was thankful to have both.

Thank you to those who reached out to me, including a well-meaning friend that wasn’t aware that I was in Lagos, Nigeria (I’m not, I’m in Vientiane, Lao). I was thankful for the text, I hope you enjoy the atlas I sent you.

https://gskpulsevolunteers.com/author/helenbemis/