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Computer connection

Lutheran teen brings technology to Mozambique

It seems computers are everywhere these days. But 13-year-old Linnea Rye knows computers are desperately needed in some places — and she decided to help.

Last November, seventh-grader Linnea joined five high school students on a three-week trip to Mozambique with Computers for the World, a student-organized program in Seattle.

Nearly 500 computers were donated for the trip. The students spent evenings and weekends upgrading each machine's software, then packing the computers for shipping.

To pay for her trip, Linnea helped give presentations at her church, Sammamish Hills Lutheran, Redmond, Wash., and at the local Rotary Club.

"I had always wanted to go somewhere else and I've never been anywhere near Mozambique," Linnea said. "I was a little scared at first, but I got used to things being different."

Once there, Linnea spent the first few days unpacking and sorting the computers. Then the team made sure the rooms were safe and had enough electrical outlets.

Linnea was one of the "PR" people, who wrote and e-mailed press releases about their progress. She also helped distribute 2,000 pounds of donated clothes to orphanages.

In Mozambique, Linnea stayed at the home of a university president, who has a daughter her age. "We became friends, and she took me to her school once so I got to meet some of her friends," she said.

As for the computers, Linnea said she knew they were needed when she saw how quickly students at one school — which had only four older machines — flocked to the new ones.

Linnea hopes she can join a future Computers for the World trip and wants to take technology classes so she will be even more helpful.

"Most adults think teenagers only care about the latest fashion, cruising the mall or trying to be cool," Linnea said. "This project shows them that kids can be responsible and make a real difference in the world."


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