Response to Lucas and Andrius: Linux/Solar/
- Dear Lucas, Andrius, Sam, and All,Hello and thanks so much for your letters! And for this very helpful info, Lucas, on Linux! I was trying to figure out what org or entity I had seen a chapter of in Kenya, and this is it, so I hope Sam will hook up with them. And on Biodesign/DIY Solar, one of the reasons for our current discussions with them is just the kind of thing you may be getting at: power generation which will help Sam and others with connectivity, esp. related to the Internet.I also think it's important, as Andrius points out, to think about what can be done with other than the higher-end ICTs. Radios, mobile phones and other wireless devices, and other AV tools (including the arts as well as technology) are important to consider. And possibly the Simputer, Internet-enabled radio, and the like.Andrius, immense thanks for the lovely introduction (!), and you pointed out something very important re "holistic" helping: that looking for, seeing, and attempting to understand "linkages" between one issue, field (person, group, project, country) and another--and then hopefully acting on what we see--is what a holistic perspective (and whatever actions which flow from that) entails.For instance, with the GenARDIS program I posted on--which has been created to address the topic of "women, agriculture, and technology"--KAIPPG used our nutrition field schools as a template for an integrative program linking gender concerns, education, development of job-skills, and agriculture and nutrition topics, with ICTs (and arts) as tools for information, advocacy, and income-generation.
This project largely enrolls women farmers in rural Kenya, who are often single parents--their spouses having died from HIV/AIDS-related causes--and responsible for the care of numbers of children and other family members. Many are also uneducated in a formal way, and are therefore only semi-literate, or not literate at all. Yet with many other skills and knowledge, know-how, drive, and determination. Numerous challenges, in other words, but also lots of human resources to draw upon in designing effective personal and community development programs.
How to put all of this together into a multi-faceted program is the challenge. This is the kind of thing we are hoping to help Sam and others with here, utilizing the resources we have (defined in various ways, from skills to funding, where possible), finding other resources elsewhere as needed, and also finding ways to do things with whatever resources are available (even if constrained in some ways, or when personal funds or energies may be at an ebb).
I look forward to discussing and addressing all of the questions, subjects, needs, ideas, dreams, projects, and goals we will undoubtedly encounter, and to working on growth, help, fulfillment, and wholeness for all! All best wishes, Janet
Samwel and all,
I followed this sequence:
Which finally brings us to:
KenyaLinux User Group: If you would like to subscribe to this group:
Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kenyalinux/join -OR- send email to
(I've subscribed and it's active. They are helpful, as LUGs usually
are. A gem, maybe!)
There's also some assorted comments picked from my blog at
Here they are:
* http://www.linuxjournal.com/node/1000031 Fon is community wifi. Tie
this with http://wndw.net and some other �stone soup� ingredients, and
off we all go.
* NGO in a box: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004083.html
* http://www.dynebolic.org (a distribution for old hardware, sound etc)
* http://www.otherpower.com/ �The cutting edge of low technology�.
Otherpower.com�s latest project. 3kW+ output, 48VDC, 17-foot diameter
wind turbine built from scratch.
* http://www.worldchanging.org alerts us to a "relatively prosaic
project generating a relatively small amount of power"
http://www.biodesign.org.uk/ with do-it-yourself solar-panels for under
* http://solarray.blogspot.com/2004/12/human-power-stations.html (and
I wish to add my welcome to yours to all your new members! Thank you,
Samwel, for signing them up. Holistic Helping is a very important
working group for our Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt Our
laboratory serves and organizes "independent thinkers" around the world.
But "thinking" is only good if it is "helpful".
Janet Feldman is very experienced at helping others, especially working
online to help our brothers and sisters on-the-ground in Africa. She is
also a very mature independent thinker. She is able to ask big questions
and look for heartfelt answers. She has agreed to "think out loud" here.
This will encourage us all to do likewise and grow as leaders.
Our laboratory has different working groups for supporting new
approaches: global villages, open economy, online learning environments,
improving collaboration, leadership development, conceptual frameworks,
loving God. But we have learned the obvious: We need to respond to
people who need and want help, otherwise the rest of life is empty. We
care especially for Africa because the need is so clear. Janet pursues a
new approach which she calls "holistic helping", and which means that
it's best to care about every issue, rather than just some issues,
because they are all connected in what makes us human.
I know little about Africa. But I have learned that the big challenges
can bring out our boldness, especially if somebody stands up to them. I
have been very inspired by Joy Tang, Jeff Buderer and others at
OneVillage.biz who are responding to the HIV/AIDS challenge with the
idea of "unity centers" within villages. Through them our laboratory has
connected with Henry Migingo in Kenya, Janet herself, and quite a few
others, so that our circles keep growing. I look forward to our bold ideas!
I am also careful to be very clear about the amount of help that I
myself can provide. My financial situation is quite difficult as I have
many debts and my income is irregular. But I am interested to try to be
creative. I hope we write about our realities (as much as we feel
comfortable). That is hard to do, but it gives us each a chance to look
at ourselves, and it gives us all a chance to help each other.
I imagine that, practically, some of the best things we might accomplish
are to link up our African participants so that you might build useful
connections, as many of you have started at Africa Source II. Feel free
to introduce yourselves! Please don't be shy. Then it will become clear
how I and others in the world might try to help. At our lab, we practice
I care about Janet's work because I believe that she is helping people
find practical resources for real challenges. My strategy is that we try
to learn how to help her so that she might help others even more.
We have managed to help Samwel Kongere in small but meaningful ways. So
far we together earned and raised $500 which allowed him to attend
Africa Source II and acquire a computer. He helped me and our lab by
doing important work which included a social mapping project and
research on business opportunities in literacy. We have agreed that he
will work a bit more for our lab until the end of this month, and then
he will have completed his work to date.
Samwel, I share your letter to me, and I hope to write more soon.
Briefly, I don't have any means to contribute to Internet access for
you. Also, for our laboratory, it is actually not a priority. I have
very few resources and I think it's best to share them or invest them in
terms of participant's time rather than technology. Also, it's actually
more interesting for our lab to see how you might optimize marginal
Internet access? What are projects that you can help with even if you
don't have good Internet? What you learn about that we can then share
with others. Of course, if you can find a way to get Internet access,
then that is very good, if you can. But I don't recommend it if you
don't have the resources. Perhaps others here might advise.
You are interested in Linux, which can be a useful technology to learn
(I am using it and learning it, too). Perhaps others here might share
some business advice.
I wrote in my earlier letter what would be very helpful for our
laboratory: If you could write about people you know who you think are
successful at "living comfortably while helping others". Perhaps there
are others on our list who have succeeded, or can share good examples?
Our lab is building for WICC an online learning environment for a
related issue: designing community currencies. Our environment will
include a collection of "principles" and "beliefs" that people have
about money, wealth, economy, etc. John calls this our "money mind". It
would be very helpful to learn about the "money mind" in Kenya. What do
people believe about money? What are alternatives to money? How do
people behave with money? I will write more, and meanwhile I appreciate
For example, one thing that Samwel does very well, and many of us
perhaps do well, is that we're not afraid to ask for help. This is a
very healthy way to think, a healthy "principle", at least in the West.
How about in Africa?