for want of a pen a kid was lost?
May 12, 2004 7:55 PM   Subscribe

The pen is mightier than...? Remember Afghanistan? Terry, former Nitpicker, is now a public affairs specialist in Kandahar. He's learned that the children of Afghanistan want nothing more than they want a pen. Maybe we can help them out by sending some?
posted by amberglow (14 comments total)
I sent some cheapo ones from OfficeMax--the 48packs.
posted by amberglow at 8:07 PM on May 12, 2004

Well, I guess it has to start with something. Who knows what great things could be done with pens.

I'm sure they wouldn't mind some boxing frog pens too.
posted by RobbieFal at 9:16 PM on May 12, 2004

I've ordered devices like that before - wasted a pretty penny, I don't mind telling you. And if the Penis Mightier works, I'll order a dozen.
posted by majcher at 9:19 PM on May 12, 2004

Will it really mighty my penis, man?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:43 PM on May 12, 2004

From the comments on the linked blog:

A tip on OfficeMax order site: they have address choices (under state) of Armed Forces Americas, Armed Forces Pacific, and just plain Armed Forces. The latter is obviously Armed Forces Europe, and they forgot to type in "Europe" since choosing it gives an address of "AE." "APO," of course goes in the city blank.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:24 PM on May 12, 2004

In Havana, Cuba, ballpoint pens are also direly needed and requested - at least from foreign tourists. Cuban kids and the population in general are highly literate - almost on a par with the world-beating Irish, I'd say - and it's simultaneously heart-breaking and an example to all that things to write with are sought after with such determination.

It's also a comment on the paradoxical nature of the Castro regime.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:47 PM on May 12, 2004

In Havana, Cuba, ballpoint pens are also direly needed and requested

Found this out during your annual cigar-replenishing trip, eh?
posted by mathowie at 11:11 PM on May 12, 2004

It was true in East Africa, too. Sigh.
posted by coelecanth at 12:29 AM on May 13, 2004

Also in India/Nepal, Morocco ... the ubiquitous cry of "One pen! One pen!" from ragamuffin kids everywhere ...
posted by carter at 4:21 AM on May 13, 2004

Not to be a fly in the ointment or any such cliche for that matter, but...I'm guessing that the readers of Eschaton have already sent thousands(?) of pens and paper and other stuff, to the Nitpicker guy. Send pens if you want, of course, but it will be interesting to get a follow up and see what might be needed next.
posted by jaronson at 6:22 AM on May 13, 2004

Then again, you can't have too many pens, or can you?
posted by jaronson at 6:26 AM on May 13, 2004

Send pens if you want, of course, but it will be interesting to get a follow up and see what might be needed next.

People have mentioned sending paper and pencils and chalk and also that paint that makes anything a blackboard, too...but that crayons may melt.
posted by amberglow at 6:36 AM on May 13, 2004

This makes me want to start a Worldwide Pen Crusade and set up a website where people can donate pens and money, and I'll jet around the world giving out pens to needy children.

Well, it's a nice dream, anyway. Someone should do that even if I don't (or do it cheaper and just get contacts in various countries who will hand out the pens - but hey, visiting the world would be more fun, yes?). I mean, it sounds like the need is great...
posted by beth at 7:18 AM on May 13, 2004

I think that while organised charities such as this one are definitely doing good, I'd argue vehemently that "giving shit away" while travelling in the third world is actually very detrimental. When travelling in West Africa, for example, you hear "Monsieur, cadeaux, cadeaux!!" ("Dude, gimme a present!") If you indulge them and start handing out stuff all you're doing in my opinion (apart from encouraging the older kids beat the piss out of younger kids to get more than their fair share of treats) is to reinforce the imbalance of power that already exists. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying "they should just get jobs and earn their own stuff". What I'm saying is that by giving them handouts you're encouraging them to beg for more "presents" from other tourists. Is that the way to create sustainable development in the third world? Crappy free stuff from travellers passing through?
posted by lazywhinerkid at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2004

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