Expression & Culture This man used to hike for two days just to check his emails—then he did something about it BY: DANIEL WATERBOURNE The Annapurna Region in Nepal is an incredibly remote region, circled by limestone mountains capped with snow. To this day, Nangi is only accessible by foot. So for six years, once a month Mahabir Pun would hike through the wilderness for two days to check his emails. But his long-walks through the dense underbrush gave him time to think and he began to realize how the lack of convenient Internet was paralyzing the community. People could not find adequate employment, and Nepalese workers were leaving the community for work only to be subjected to modern-day slavery on foreign soil. So Pun began contacting publications and tech specialists who might be able to help build the infrastructure necessary to support the Internet. Building consistent access to the Internet was not just about convenience; it was about providing infrastructure for innovations in healthcare, education and e-commerce. Pun’s vision became a reality and he connected 60,000 people to the Internet. His work is a reminder of the 1 billion people without Internet connection and the implications that lack of Internet has on social mobility, equality and economic growth. The digital divide isn’t about checking emails. It’s about democratizing information.