March 2006 Pangaea Newsletter
-News: Redesigned Pangaea webpage
-Yumi, Chief Executive Director's monthly note
-Toshi, Chief Technical Director's monthly note
-What's up in Pangaea's Playground? (Activity report)
-Pangaea Ring (Message from a Pangaean)
News-Pangaea Webpage is RedesignedThe Pangaea webpage has been redesigned. The overall modification of the design and the website reconstruction has been completed to facilitate the access to requested information. The English site has been redesigned as well. 'Pangaea Summary' in Korean and German is also added.
The new design is more viewer friendly using a lot of the children's work and Pictons on the website enabling it to deliver our messages of, "what our vision is." and "what our activities are" more clearly.
Our special thanks go to Ms. Ayako Edahiro who has volunteered to work on the redesign, reconstruction of webpage as well as translation of the English site. We welcome any feedback or comments on our new webpage!
Please forward your response to:info*pangaean.org (Please change "*" to "@".)
Yumi's Monthly Note
The business trip to oversee preparations for new Pangaea branches worldwide continues. We visited Vienna and Nairobi in February. When I arrived In Vienna, the temperature was freezing cold as -10c or even colder. I was not fully recovered from the cold that I had caught in Seoul. The staffs on the site, therefore, were concerned about me that I might get bronchitis or pneumonia, which I managed to escape from and I completed the workshop for the facilitators as planned. I was very happy to see the children having much fun at the activity at the youth center.
I am now in Nairobi, our last destination.
We held our activity at Rusinga school after their school hours, when we had some accident. We had a squall one and a half hour before our scheduled start up of the activity. Due to the squall, the city was flooded like a river and a pond and the arrival of the facilitators was delayed. Plus, because of scheduling of the facility, we had only 15 min. to prepare for the activity where we would normally have two and a half hours in Japan. Takasaki, VP, one middle school boy and I, 3 of us worked on the preparation in a sweat. The manual that the staffs in Tokyo had prepared for us, however, was very useful and we managed to complete our task, which gave us hope for our future activities.
We have launched on the preparation for the registration of NPO Pangaea Africa Branch. We just visited our candidate site at a community center in the Slum in Kivuli (Kwangware), where there are about 60 street children stay and they study, learn how to use PC, how to build furniture, handcrafts etc. People in the community come to the center to buy the medicine or to visit the health clinic that the center sets up once a week. The staffs there are pleasant Kenyans. They also film the lives at Kivuli. The nurse at the health clinic is the most beautiful and kind-hearted lady. This health clinic is rather small with just 3 testing equipments but those equipments are up-to-date and capable of examining if one has AIDS in 15 min. Proper counseling and protection from the disease is very important in Kenya where AIDS deprives many of their lives.
The founder of this facility is Father Kizito who resembles much of a heart-warming feature of Santa Clause. Father Kizito heard me interviewed on the radio when I visited Nairobi last time and e-mailed me directly. The children's smile at this facility tells all about their life here.
After the activity, two of the girls came up to me and told me, "Yumi, thank you for bringing us Pangaea! We had so much fun!" Their comment let all my fatigue from the trip go away.
This business trip around the world made me realize how troublesome it could be not being able to communicate verbally. One simple shopping can be very difficult. This trip was a good opportunity to confirm that our soon-to-be-developed Pangaea Communicator (Picton mail application) could be a powerful tool in terms of intercultural communication. It was truly our big achievement from this trip. We will soon be back in Japan with a lot of stories from our trip.
We are approaching the completion of our first phase target to set up our overseas branches in four different countries. We now have a pretty good idea of who would be actually participating in the Pangaea. We now have a good idea of what our soon-to-be-ready manual would be like. We were able to prove that the manual was very useful. Now we are making the final push in preparing for the release of PangaeaNet in April. Yes, we are almost there!
Toshi's Monthly Note
I remember I sent my greetings from Seoul last month. After leaving Seoul, I had about 40hour-stay in Tokyo and then back on the plane to fly to Vienna in the beginning of February.
We have set up a new Pangaea branch at a City Youth Center in Vienna where many children of Turkish and Slovakian immigrants come. I have held a workshop for the Pangaea facilitators and an activity for the children here. The leader of technical staffs is Daniel who has great computer skills and gives out a lot of ideas about software and practical use of the Internet.
After the activity, a 12 year-old son of Bangladeshi parents came to me and said, "I want to be a computer engineer in the future. I will definitely participate in the Pangaea activities. It's great that I can create what I want and communicate with people all over the world." I was very impressed when I heard him say that.
Leaving Vienna in mid-winter, I'm now in Nairobi, Kenya in the south hemisphere. It's mid-summer here. The first scenery that I saw in Kenya was telling me all about Kenya and current IT in this country. I was on my way to the hotel from the airport when I saw a huge billboard of a cell phone on a highway underneath which was a zebra eating the grass. It represented the rapid growth of IT in Kenya. With the financial support provided by MIT, I visited Kenya 2 years ago for the purpose of conducting a preliminary research. I remember that there was no such advertisement for the cell phones. Now I see many ads in town and people chatting on the cell phone. Another thing that I am surprised with is that WiFi, wire-less internet, is available at the hotel, although they have blackout every once in a while leaving us in the total darkness. It is so dark that I can't see anything but a wonderfully starry sky. Well I must be lucky to get to see such a view!
The activity at the Rusinga School in Kenya was a great success. It was so much fun. The Swahili and Japanese pronunciation are so much alike that Kenyan children learned my name very easily. "Come see us again, Toshi." I was happy when I heard it.
Technically speaking, there is a computer program called 'trace route'. It is an order from the computer to show you the route over the network between the two locations and to figure out how systems are connected to each other. I use it to check the IT environment at each activity site. The trace between Tokyo, Japan and Boston, USA, for example, is going through California to the East and reaches Boston sometimes via Chicago or N.Y. Internet is so flexible that it changes the route according to the degree of congestion. I used 'trace route' between Nairobi and Tokyo when I arrived Nairobi last month. It showed that the trace started out in Nairobi, going over Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, N.Y, Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean and finally reached Tokyo. I couldn't but realize the difference in the perception of 'distance' between two locations on the geographical map and in the cyberspace where there is no sea or mountains.
Through Pangaea, it is possible for us to build good and expanding relationships in the cyberspace regardless of the languages or the cultural backgrounds. The release of PangaeaNet in April is on the way. It's getting down to the wire.
What's up in Pangaea's Playground? (Activity report by Seiji)The circle of Pangaea activities is expanding worldwide.
The number of 'houses' is increasing on the PangaeaNet.
"Registration of a new 'house' is now completed!" Before the Vienna branch sent us the news, we had already had the new 'house' on the net. It was very exciting and touching. I believe that we would experience and share such feelings as we set up new branches one after another in the world.
With Pangaea, someone whom you have never met or someone living in a place where you've never been to plays with you doing the same activity as you and you will get to know his/her personality by the 'house' he/she has. His/her name is also written on the house in his/her own language. You can confirm how to read it if you don't know how to read it.
At the activity, the Japanese children were looking at the 'houses' of children in Vienna with such eager curiosity.
A 'house' is very interesting and meaningful. It vividly represents where you are, what you like and what you want to express, depending on how you draw it, may it be with some particular characters, the national flags, the nature, the animals and/or sweets etc.
Another thing is, when you meet 'someone' through the Pangaea activity, he/she is not just 'someone' who is on his/her own working on his/her own computer. All the children, the facilitators at the activity site and what they do at the activity become a part of that 'someone'. That is very important.
In February, we made a strong effort in creating an interactive picture book, 'Puff Puff Fluffy'. The PangaeaNet will be in full operation in April and you will soon start receiving comments and feedback on your work via Picton mails. The exchange of those comments and feedback will connect you to and create 'bond' between you and the other children no matter where you may be.
I can hardly wait for that day to come.
Pangaea Ring - Message from a PangaeanOur guest for this month is Mr. Takekazu Hanada of Pangaea Administrative Office in Tokyo.
"How do you do!" I am Takekazu Hanada of Pangaea Administrative Office in Tokyo. It has been great working for Pangaea. So much has been happening ever since I have joined Pangaea last November, including the press conferences and the Japan-Korea synchronous activities and it has been truly a valuable experience for me.
I first met Mori, the President 12 years ago when I started working for a toy manufacturing enterprise. She was working there as an employee at that time. Mori has been a very energetic lady from back then and she used to help me and give me guidance at the office as a senior employee. Having left the toy manufacturing enterprise, I became a teddy bear maker. I met with many people through my new career, and I came to believe that the 'bond' with other people was truly something that had led me where I was. Mori invited me to come see the Pangaea last October where I felt as if I found what I had been looking for. What I saw in Pangaea was the world where this 'bond' was truly valued. I participated in the Pangaea activity for the first time on October 20th. I was thrilled and deeply touched to see the children having so much fun at the activity. Seeing their beautiful smiles, I remember I felt so honored that I was a part of it.
I do participate in the activity every week now. I still feel the thrill I felt at the first activity each time and I find the time with the children truly re-energizing.
I am currently in charge of the administrative work, accounting work as well as the preparation of the instruction manual of the Pangaea package contents. It is exciting for me to imagine that what we are preparing right now will be spread out to the world and I hope that I would stay to be a part of the Pangaea team to build a solid platform of the project.
As I am the point of contact in regard with any interview appointments or inquiries for the Pangaea, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. I will be looking forward to working with you all.