March 25, 2010

 Pangaea was reported in a newspaper in Malaysia!

20100307_borneop.jpg Fitri, the facilitator leader in Malaysia, told us that Pangaea was reported in a newspaper.
I was so surprised that a long article with some color pictures was in the Borneo Post Sunday edition. In this article they referred to a situation of Malaysia as well.

The day I had an interview was a long but a fun day because we did the Webcam activity with some new facilitators. Some children also got together as new members for the first time. I appreciate that the Borneo Post wrote about us in great detail!
The article is on this site, so we are glad if you read it when you have time.

To Media Coverage

Posted by: yumi | 5. Media Coverage , 8. General | Permalink

March 16, 2010

 Happy news!

Our Chief Administrative Officer Hana-pooh a.k.a. Hanada is now happily married! He had a history of not having girlfriends and even since joining Pangaea this has been the same, but at the beginning of this year, making a suddenly serious face he said “I have something I need to tell you...”, I wondered what it was and if I would be surprised, “I have a girlfriend!” was the suprising news. I, without thinking shouted “Yay! Good for you!”. Now I can definitely see 'nice guy'-type Hanada as young but, in truth he's in his late thirties, I wasn't worried as a nosey boss, I wanted to repeat that he'd tried hard with the opportunity, a “Well done!” kind of feeling. His other half is a wonderful lady who has been helping out as a volunteer at Pangaea Kyoto in the back office. She is slightly younger than Hana-pooh, but I honestly think what a splendid, level headed and what's more, kind person she is. It seems that they started dating about in December (Whether this is true or not I don't know though...), so this was a super lightning wedding. All of a sudden these two, (along with a puppy), have started a new life living together. Everyone, if you meet Hana-pooh please give him your congratulations. To the two of them! All the best in your life ahead!

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink

March 04, 2010

 March 10 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello, everyone!

Flying from Kansai Airport to Kuala Lumpur, to Kuching, to Miri, and finally to Bario, it was quite a long travel. Planes got smaller as we transit, and the plane from Miri to Bario was twin engine Otter which felt quite full with 14 people on board. We heard about the bad weather but we were blessed with great sunshine without turbulences.

As the plane flew over highlands of Sarawak, we started to see untouched jungles underneath, and rivers turned like a snake with brown water. Kelabit Highland is the place the plane was heading, and Bario is like a center for scattered longhouse communities. From UNIMAS team, we heard that children who are at Bario school come mostly from outside Bario, where to reach their homes, a child with longest trip takes 15 days by walk!!

I probably won't be able to reach school if I have to walk 15 days. So many children stay in school dormitories and go home on weekend if travel is not so long, on semester ends if schools are fairly far, on year end if schools are very far. It is bit unimaginable for Japanese to have children in boarding school when children are so young, but there are no options as a school in Kelabit is very very limited.

e-Bario project started with the great mission almost 10 years ago with UNIMAS (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) and COERI(Centre of Excellence for Rural Informatics) passion. As they started Pangaea last Feb. 09, they and TTC (Telecommunication Technology Committee) had minds to start Pangaea in this remote village. I was quite worried about bumpy roads with mud and bugs before I left Japan, but compared to Cambodia trip in '02 which put us in the 4 wheel vehicle for more than 6 hours on very bumpy roads, it was a piece of cake. Also very dusty road which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya took us near Kisumu, with greens of lands and Bario rice harvesting season, air seemed very nice.

Bario children probably wondered that what Pangaea is, and seeing projectors, and computers, videos of Pangaea clips, they looked and seemed to get very curious. Facilitators consisted of teachers at Bario school, gate securitiesy, gardeners, PTAs, and all sorts. They enjoyed training so much and at the end, they all broke into laughs as people introduced by Tako Introduction. They did wonderful work as Fs as we had our kick-off activity. I have to mention that F called Anis, who I think was PTA was amazingly talented artist! His Pangaea house was very nice as he knows how to use crayons. Children knew that there is something going on as they saw adults drawing something and all seemed very happy on the day before kick-off. Seventeen boys and girls got together and please check Pangaea blog for a photo.
PangaeaBlog:February 01, 2010 Starting Bario!

Well, then after Bario, we traveled back to Kuching and run two facilitator training sessions, and that put Malaysia facilitators this year to be over fifty people. Students seem to get interested in Pangaea, and they all come with very enthusiastic eyes. What a reward! Then on Saturday, we connected UNIMAS and Mie University for webcam. Children participated in UNIMAS were 32 as they wanted to have 40, but I had to ask them to make 32 as Mie will have 24 or 25. So it did ended up the largest number of children participated in webcam for one session. I was MC for both sides, and boy! It was a tough day at work. We used Toolbox (Machine translation) of language grid as tools for webcam menu, and 100% of Malaysia participants said "Yes! We like Toolbox and like to use." So I guess children are more open to new technologies than many adults.

Well, I think I am going bit too long, and say good bye for now!

This month Pangaea Ring writer is Gary, from the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He helped us a lot to open Bario in this January and he is keen to enhance interaction among children not only internationally but also locally, within Malaysia.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 March 10 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Gary Loh Chee Wyai

This month Pangaea Ring writer is Gary, from the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He helped us a lot to open Bario in this January and he is keen to enhance interaction among children not only internationally but also locally, within Malaysia.

Greetings from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia!

My name is Gary Loh Chee Wyai and I am the IT Project Manager for COERI, UNIMAS. I guess I am the one who running around with Dr Fitri at the beginning to get the local school children to participate in this program. This is how my first encounter with Pangaea activities.

The day when my Director, Assoc. Professor Dr. Alvin told me that we will going to run this program at UNIMAS, I knew it will be an interesting program as we do not have any encounter working with local school children before. What I know is going to the remote places(deep jungle) in Sarawak and Sabah planting Telecentre for the remote communities! It is a new experience for me to work with Pangaea where I can work together with the staff from different faculties and also our own faculty's staffs.

Besides that, working with Yumi and Toshi also open my eyes in learning how to be very details in getting things done, which both of them are extremely details! The idea of peace engineering really can happen in Pangaea. I can see from the children who came and joint the Pangaea activities become friendlier among each other besides getting to know friends from Japan, Austria, Kenya and South Korea.

Now we are trying to run Pangaea in our remote places where we had planted our telecentres. The first is Bario where Yumi and Toshi are so fearful of getting there at the beginning. I hope after the first trip, both of them are getting more excited to travel to our remote sites. I hope there will be more to learn and happiness to share by bringing Pangaea to all these places as we are not only bridging the digital divide gap between urban and rural children but bringing peace and harmony to the rest of the country.

Let us not give up in giving hope and touching lives for peace and harmony. Be a volunteer for Pangaea!

Gary Loh Chee Wyai
Centre of Excellence for Rural Informatics
Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

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