Re: Samwel - living comfortably & helping others
What a great letter!
Yes, Samwel sent you a list of addresses of people who had agreed that
he sign them up for your group Holistic Helping
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/ Please do! You have
full moderator privileges and you can add them directly at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/subs_add (And I note
that all are welcome to join, simply send a blank letter to
This is most important for us as a way to stay in contact with the
people that Samwel met at Africa Source II. We want to find ways to
work together and this takes time. Your group is the most practical and
relevant way to assemble. These are people who, much like Samwel, are
above average in their familiarity with the Internet and their access to
it, as evidenced by their attendance at Africa Source II.
I find your points on literacy and other on-the-ground issues extremely
helpful. Yes, for our lab, adult literacy is most relevant because we
deal directly with adult learners and adult facilitators. The flash
cards that I developed might certainly be used for adult literacy (or
for motivated children). And I think that a commercial angle is helpful
if it can contribute to self-sustainability, and a business for Samwel,
even if there is backing from interested funders. Also, they could be
family-oriented, encouraging connection across generations, especially
where AIDS/HIV is disrupting family ties. I very much like your idea
that healthy snacks geared towards children might be paired with
literacy cards by which the children can help their parents to learn,
thus making for a treat that the whole family wants to buy. There can
be funding for such packages as well. These are just ideas.
My thought is that if Samwel can identify good examples of people who
are "living comfortably and helping others" then we might help him
structure a business to meet his personal goals. Also, we can give our
own examples of the choices that we make in our own lives. Often we
succeed but things don't quite look the way that we might have first
It may seem odd to focus on snacks. That may seem to be a waste of
money. I have trouble imagining the situation in Kenya, and poverty in
general. However, my experience is that disposal income, however
meager, tends to find such self-rewards, such treats. An economy is
often jumpstarted and lifted by just such a "consumer economy". Often
it's a matter of finding wholesome ways to spend that money, as opposed
to cigarettes or alcohol, for which people always find money. I think
of Tong Zhu and his brother Shu-Hong, they were from the countryside but
both studied in Beijing. Every day they would spend the little money
they had to buy one egg each to supplement their diet. Three summers
ago I was in Tuzla, Bosnia, and you could buy an ice cream for one
Bosnian mark, which was about fifty cents. People young and old would
promenade up and down the main street enjoying ice cream and simply the
fact that they could walk outside without fear. I think that this has a
great impact on reaffirming peace, even though the buildings were shot
through with bullet holes. Perhaps Samwel can find a treat that would
open up a channel for economic activity which can also serve, often with
the help of funders, to spread helpful information, for example, about
bird flu or nutrition or literacy.
Janet, it's great that your hours (which you earned helping with our
chocolate project) are available to help Samwel (and perhaps for him to
earn directly). I note your key concept "holistic helping" and your
investigatory questions "How can I help those individuals who are coming
to me, while also taking care myself, and generate a ripple effect into
a wider community?" Perhaps you might formulate a plan for
investigating the latter? Then Samwel, I and others could work on that,
and you might acknowledge our help by giving us the hours you earned.
That might strengthen your ability to help us and potentially make for a
Janet, Samwel and all - Thank you for motivating us!
+370 (699) 30003
Janet Feldman wrote:
> Dear Andrius, Sam, and All,
> Great to see this activity, and thanks so much for the names and
> addresses, Sam! I didn't get that you wanted me to invite them to
> these forums...I think Andrius and whoever else is a moderator of
> their particular forum should and may need (technically and otherwise)
> to do that. These folks will be fantastic to have in any networking
> around joint projects on the ground, so that's where the list will
> come in handy for the purposes of my own networking.
> I'm happy to ask them to join "Holistic Helping" too, though
> perhaps--given what may be more limited email capacity--one forum is
> enough for the moment (let us know what you think, Sam, as you know
> them a bit now, and better than we do!).
> Andrius has asked some excellent questions which I hope you've be able
> to provide some answers to, and I can supplement as well--as can Henry
> and others on the ground there--to create a rounded picture of some of
> the issues surrounding literacy, income-generation and business
> opportunities, food security, and the like.
> One thing I will say quite strongly, which I have mentioned before, is
> that it is "adults" in particular who actually need to become
> literate, moreso than the youth as a whole. Many youth are in school,
> unless they are not due to lack of funds, or having to care for
> families affected by HIV/AIDS, so the out-of-school youth (usually
> adolescents) is another population to help in regard to literacy.
> Almost 90% of the women KAIPPG works with have zero literacy, so we
> are at once trying to help them become literate, while also providing
> other kinds of skills-building--with a focus on verbal and pictorial
> means of conveying information--which will help them to work towards
> personal and community development.
> This is why I think a literacy project should be decoupled from a
> commercial project like snacks, or seen and designed in two parts, one
> part for adults who need literacy but do not have the funds to spend
> on snacks to acquire such knowledge, and the other being targeted to
> youth, who might already be getting some education but could use some
> specialized knowledge, let's say, about HIV/AIDS, ICTs, or some other
> subjects. Parents who wouldn't buy snacks for themselves might give a
> few coins to a child to do so...and perhaps the flash cards or
> whatever is created can be informational both to the child AND to the
> adults, with the child helping the adult to learn!
> On the subject of nutrition, agriculture, and food security, I have
> during the past few months been working on a conference on just these
> themes. Our discussion here is timely, too, as reports of famine as
> well as chronic malnutrition in Kenya are now becoming more prominent
> in the Kenyan press (they have been challenges all along, but are now
> more visible).
> What we hope to gain from the conference, which will happen in Lusaka
> in May (attention Moses!), is a much better picture of what is working
> on the ground, what needs to be and can be done rapidly, and how to
> better integrate research, policy-making, and projects to address
> these issues. One thing which has exacerbated an already precarious
> food situation is HIV/AIDS, so that is at the core of what we will be
> examining (ie the interconnections between HIV/AIDS, nut/agric, and
> food security).
> Steve and I had a terrific conversation a couple weeks ago in which we
> touched on these themes, and we hope to do some integrative work here
> in these forums to address these subjects. Holistic helping--the
> concept--is akin to "living comfortably and helping others", though
> "comfort" of course is a relative term and defined in many different
> If what is meant is having enough food to eat, having enough income to
> afford life's basics--and perhaps a few amenities--and being able to
> move beyond subsistence (focused on daily individual survival) to a
> place where one can help others as well as oneself, that is "holistic
> helping" (ie joint focus on both the individual and the community).
> And THAT helps to ensure social justice and thoughtful sharing.
> Personal sacrifice in order to help others is noble; it is
> also courageous, healthy, and important to find ways to help
> oneself at the same time (and to address the inevitable tensions and
> sometimes conflicts between the two), and often creates greater
> long-term (sustainable) motivation and less burnout.
> I look forward to working with all of you to address our key concepts,
> and to help one another as well as ourselves (which getting "back to
> the root" is all about), and Andrius, I have quite a few hours spent
> on the chocolate project myself (25), which I am willing to donate to
> Samwel, Henry, or whoever else needs them.
> With all best wishes and greatest thanks, Janet
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Andrius Kulikauskas <mailto:ms@...>
> *To: *email@example.com
> *Sent:* 1/28/2006 1:52:25 PM
> *Subject:* [minciu_sodas_en] Samwel - living comfortably & helping
> Thank you for your update which I share below.
> Your key concept is "motivation through sacrifice" and your
> investigatory question is "How I can find for Myself and live
> Comfortably while helping others?" (If not, please update us!)
> Here is what would be very useful for our laboratory for you to
> do, if
> you are interested.
> I would like to know, What are business opportunities where you live
> that would let a person live comfortably while helping others? Could
> you find and describe 5 opportunities? And what level of literacy is
> needed for each? And a person who has achieved that opportunity?
> what exactly does it mean that they are living comfortably? What are
> the elements of living comfortably?
> This would help us know how we might help people like you
> on-the-ground. Also, we would learn what kind of literacy is
> important.&nb sp; I think this would also help Henry Migingo. His
> key concept
> is "thoughtful sharing" and his question is: How can I, as an
> individual, implement a bottom-up economy in Africa (begining with
> Kenya) so that we are economically independent?
> Henry might let us know how your research could help him answer his
> Also, Steve Bosserman's key concept is "social justice" and he is
> interested in a question related to "living comfortably": What
> can I do
> with others to advance social justice in the world by
> experimenting with
> social system rules that distribute influence more equitably among
> members and offer them a wider range of choices? The metric for me is
> food security and safety. If people don't have a steady supply of
> affordable, healthy food, then there is no social justice. How to
> advance community currency as a way to fairly compensate people for
> their value add?
> Also, perhaps Steve might be interested to give you some of his "time
> awards" if you can do some research for him. I will look for more
> to make our time awards useful.
> Samwel, if you can study successful people, perhaps talk with
> them, and
> describe the elements of "living comfortably", then we will know more
> about people's "motivation" and how we can design community
> Where there is "motivation through sacrifice" (people inspired by
> sacrifice) then we may find other dimensions of comfort that motivate
> people, not just money. If you might tell us examples of "motivation
> through sacrifice", that would also help. Do you see any examples of
> people who are "living comfortably and helping others"?
> Samwel, let's see what you can discover for us by the end of
> Then you will be done with this work. We may then think about
> what you
> learn. Perhaps we might then look for ways to support the kinds of
> business opportunities that you find. We'll be able to think
> about that.
> We can focus our work at
> and share occassional letters with other groups as well.
> Any thoughts?
> Andrius Kulikauskas
> Minciu Sodas
> +370 (699) 30003
> Vilnius, Lithuania
> samwel kongere wrote:
> Dear Andrius,
> I have just emailed the links of emails to Janet and hope she will
> invite them to our group. people here and there want linux
> operators and
> this is something very interestting for me I am planning to send my
> plans and agenda After the workshop and see what of the ca mpaign
> I am
> going to take concerning open source software.
> What do you think I can do to our lab to help my campaign? and if
> I buy
> one Computer because I am paying a depost fee to one on the
> balance I
> remained with.My full time connectivity will still pause me
> problems and
> questions and these are the few hints I need to Address before I
> go, you
> Have to give some hints on Open source and I will share my agenda
> you....and something about my literacy and sanck business, this
> can keep
> You, said I was to do something for the lab ie January and
> Febraury can
> you now come clear on this and i start the Job?
> Thanks very much for linking me and I still need some basic hints on
> linux, i have helped create KENYA Open source Group where we will be
> sending many campaign results all over.
> Have agood day.