September 21, 2007

 Great Trip to Kenya, Europe, and US

I am still not back in Japan yet. I am in Seoul, Korea after 24 hours of 3 stop over flight from Boston to Seoul last night. It has been so busy and I didn't realize how long I have not updated this blog for English readers. Visiting Netherland was a great experience. We have met with various organizations such as Waag Society, V2, Media Guild, European Cultural Foundation, Club of Amsterdam, and University of Amsterdam. Simon helped to set up many great meetings, and as he probably itnended, these people were all very quick to understand what Pangaea is trying to achieve, then offered helping hands. I really look forward to set up our European operation soon. Then short stop over to Boston, of course to Media Lab, we have met Mitch who is doing wonderful job with Scratch, Tod who started his new project, Opera of Future, and Walter who heads OLPC who is almost ready to dispatch. OLPC looks a lot better than before, actually it is beautiful. I can imagine lots of works done in last half year for contents and hardware. We will find a way to collaborate some how. It has been a long time since we visited Media Lab., and still our old freinds are around, it is great to see them and their wonderful projects. They all told us that we should be there more often, and I totally agree, but we will focus on Europe and Africa for now. Seoul is warm. We have been traveling to countries around 10 degree or little above in last 3 weeks, so this humidity reminded that Japan also is still in end of summer weather. Well, in 3 more days, after running new season of activity at Mizy Center, I will return to home.

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink

September 10, 2007

 Sep 2007 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello Everyone,

Toshi and I are in Nairobi. Just returned the last trip to Europe at the beginning of August, two weeks to prepare for this whole month trip around the world. The first stop was Nairobi.

Only a week after this trip has started, and an amazing thing is happening. We visited Community Multimedia Center started by UNESCO which was located in Bondo, near Kisumu, Nairobi. With our trip to Bondo, UNESCO jointed and so were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Mr. Tuju. Wow, that was a surprise. He was born in Bondo, and started many wonderful community projects there, such as Water Project, Building Huts in villages, Remote medical service. He guided us around Bondo where roads were so rough and we hit our heads more than several times against the car ceiling during the day tour. He took us to a couple of schools in area, and there were 1/3 of children who raised hands when the Minister asked how many are orphans. This is the area where HIV/AIDS seriously infect many residents. They were studying at school where it was funded by Japanese ODA. Looking at such communities, and Pangaea here? will be a question many people who read this think. But UNESCO ICT advisor for East Africa likes our project and possibilities that Pangaea offers, bridging them to the world beyond their community provides hopes and dreams for children at where these seems so far away. Therefore, we will start our pilot program here to really see Pangaea works at this one of the most severe environment.

We also run the activity in Nairobi which Jane put Radio notice and there were more children who wanted to participate than we were able to take. Kenyan children are somewhat very well behaved and polite. Many first time participants were there, but as they wrote their comments at the end, they all seem to have great time in Pangaea.

We look forward to visit Bondo in Jan next year to Kick off. I have a request to you. If you have a PC lying around, please donate them. (Sorry, but not too old PC!) We also want to start the activity at Nairobi Slum. The Kivuli Community Center is wanting to do this for long time, and had sent volunteers for facilitator training and he came to participate this activity. What they need is internet connection which costs a bit. If you have not become an official member, please consider to become one.

We are visiting UK, Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, Boston, and Korea before returning to Tokyo on Sept. 24.

So I hope to see many of you during this trip!

This month Pangaea Ring is Bernhard Damisch who is Director of Vienna 5th District Youth Center which is Austria base in Pangaea.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Sep 2007 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Bernhard Damisch

When we experienced Pangaea for the first time, we were very curious and intrigued by it. At the first visit of Yumi and Toshi, watching the two communicate with the children using the pictons was beyond our imagination and we were totally fascinated by the scene.

For the children here, it is an enormously enriching experience to participate in Pangaea, and they are proud of making a village on the network. Only the complicated security - restrictions break their eagerness a little. It might be preferable, if they could be connected on-line each time.

We are looking forward to Pangaea's further growth, and we hope that there may be more villages and that even more children can participate in this great project.

In a city like Vienna, where the coexistence of multicultural European ethnics is observed, an universal project that emphasizes peoples' equality is enormously important.
For the children, the Pangaea project has become an indispensable part of their life, and they look forward to Yumi and Toshi's visit in September.

The continuous development of Pangaea would help so much to keep the motivation of this fascinating project a very lively one.
Those of us who once saw the shining eyes of the children taking the first step in the Pangaea world, would wish that children experience Pangaea even more.

Bernhard Damisch
Director of Vienna 5th District Youth Center

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink

September 04, 2007

 Visiting Bondo, Kenya with UNESCO and Minister

kenya_kisumu03.jpg I was in Kenya last week, visiting Bondo's new UNESCO Community Multimedia Center (CMC) with UNESCO ICT advisor for East Africa. At the beginning of last week, when we visited Nairobi office, Hezekiel, advisor, told us that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rafael Tuju, will also be with us. Minister?! Well, he was born in Bondo, and he runs many different community programs there. Bondo is located near Kisumu, where it is very close to border of Uganda, and Lake Victoria is there. This Western Kenya is known also as the area severly infected by HIV. In fact, one of schools we visited, when Minister asked a class of students how many of them are orphans, about 1/3 of class raised hands. From such situations, many widows who don't have hands to build hats to live, some lives are deteriorating. In such area, UNESCO built new CMC.

Our friend from MIT who is a Kenyan actually was born in Kisumu. He got scholorship to go to school in Nairobi, then to MIT. He is now back in Kenya started his own IT venture. With ICT, it is possible to touch many lives, and for those who are willing enought to take time to find resources, there are resources if they can access to Internet. Also to be able to have connections beyond your small community, and finding out that there are many other people out there, who commnets on your creations with pictograms in Pangaea, imagine how amazing this experiences are for them. Google Earth shows locations of children who send you messages live on the other side of earth. Pangaea is challenging to create Universal Playground. It is a place for children to meet, communicate, and get to know each other through their creations of drawing, animations, cartoons, photos, music.... We also run an activity in Nairobi last Friday. Jane put a notice to Radio for participants, and there were many who wanted to participated contacted, and we only were able to take 15 new participants and asked 20 more to wait for another opportunity. But children from different schools came and enjoyed to start program by drawing their own house and room on PangaeaNet. I look forward to visit Nairobi again in 4 months. At that time, we will start Bondo activity.

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink