Lines of Light

A month ago, encouraged by this wonderfully clear explainer comic from Maia Kobabe, I bought an eSim for someone in Gaza via Connecting Humanity. Like Maia, mine took a while to get assigned and activated, but this morning IT HAPPENED.

Suddenly, two of my eSIMs were activated on the same day! The Airalo I’d purchased 4.5 months earlier and my second Nomad. I began buying top-up packages immediately.
I felt like I had planted a seed in the fall and waited all winter for it to sprout. Seeing it activated was like watching the first new leaves break the soil. (Maia watering tiny seedlings thinking “Watering my eSIMs!”) Sadly, only .07 GB of data was ever used on my Nomad. It was never used again after that first day.
(This is just an excerpt from Maia’s full comic. You can read the rest here.)

I try to pay a lot of attention to how taking various actions makes me feel. Not because activism shouldn’t include things that are difficult or painful, but because I’m a human creature and I know that I gravitate towards things that bring me pleasure or fulfillment. If I can embody my values in a way that’s rewarding, I’m going to be far more effective in my work. I see this in the people I admire: a kind of joyous integrity that drives fundraisers and community events, art projects and experiments.

The feeling I got seeing that eSIM activated and streaming data was very similar to what Maia describes in her comic. A burst of hope! A jolt of delight! The understanding that a stranger across the world, in unimaginably horrifying circumstances, has the chance to reach out and be heard—to connect.

In a season where everything about the internet feels poisoned, I’m reminded that data can mean hearing a loved one’s voice, subscribing to updates from emergency personnel, letting your children distract themselves with a cartoon on YouTube, or sharing the lived reality of life in a war zone. These are all means of spiritual and physical survival, and we can gift them to others.

If you feel moved to give it a go yourself, there’s an ongoing 5% discount code for Nomad Middle East eSims (NOMADCNG) and I have a personal code for 25% off (LUCYUADYUW) anyone’s first order. The full instructions for purchasing and donating eSims can be found on Connecting Humanity’s eSim page.

(Enormous respect to Mirna El Helbawi, the organizing force behind Connecting Humanity and Maia Kobabe, for always sharing such clear and humanizing comics. The title of this post comes from a chapter about the internet in Dan Nott’s fantastic book Hidden Systems.)