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"Helpings" of Helping (response to Lucas...in spaghetti spirit!)

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  • Janet Feldman
    Dear Lucas and All, Hello, and I feel like we re all starring in a spaghetti western (a term coined for Italian-made cowboy movies), haha!! That s a great
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2006
      Dear Lucas and All,
      Hello, and I feel like we're all starring in a "spaghetti western" (a term coined for Italian-made cowboy movies), haha!! That's a great metaphor and imagery, and I agree that it's important to take one bite at a time (while perhaps including in some small space in one's mouth a bit of salad, bread, and a dash of vino too).
      Of course, looking at the whole plate and trying to figure out where and how to work on it--so that slowly but surely we do clean it off (and without too much indigestion)--is also important. Hence my suggestion to Sam about trying to figure out a "stepped progression" for all of his ideas and plans, some realistic way in which we can get to "Step #1" (however we define that), take it (ie do and/or complete one project, or aspect of a larger whole), and then move to another.
      There are ways to design what he wants to do so encompass several major elements, whether we address each one separately, or all of them together. The GenARDIS example is a way to do the former. We also might decide to focus first on the ICTs aspects of what Sam has identified as needs:  some computers and Internet connection, plus knowledge abt Linux and FOSS.
      In the next few weeks, my time is very limited, but I will try to mull over suggestions for how I think we might approach doing something concrete, and in the meantime, if anyone wants to work with Sam on developing a business plan (ie for the crafts or snacks business...I would go with crafts first, myself)--using a logical-framework (stepped) approach, that would be great. This way, we can eat the whole plate, but in manageable bites, haha!
      The other work of this forum in particular--an examination of what "holistic helping" is all about--can be a work in progress, as we make progress towards realizing some of the specific projects we are discussing (or chewing the fat about, haha!!).
      With thanks and a BIG bon appetit, and here's hoping we will all eat cake (as an infamous lady once proclaimed), which is the same thing as bread, though not necessarily "dough", ho-ho (though hope springs eternal that it be so)! Janet  (ps...and may we have pasta till we say basta!)
      Janet, Samwel, Andrius and all,

      I'd love to know if/when, and where, we can get our hands dirty with
      *designing the immediate way forward* with the "pieces" we have
      available.  We are people with passion and some available time and links
      to other people, we have knowledge and links to more knowledge, we have
      some technical and economical resources.  This is the cothinking I've
      been dreaming about for some years.  Conceptual thinking is great, and
      we are all great too, and we've learned to focus on people and not
      (only) on projects, but How do we get one project running and then
      another and another?

      My gut (heh!) feeling is this is a bit like the "eating spaghetti"
      *sequence*: you look at the fuming mess, select a place to stick the
      fork (sometimes you don't even look but you may prefer more or less
      sauce etc), stick the fork, collect an amount that fits the space
      between your jaws (if in doubt, you child, collect less!), stick it in
      your mouth or get your teeth around the stuff, apply pressure (and
      enjoy) from different angles until it's done, swallow.  Same with next
      forkful until (a) you finish what's on the place or (b) you don't want
      more spaghetti, thank you.

      We're of course working at more than one level: we want to eat
      spaghetti, we want to learn how to eat spaghetti, we'd love to help
      others learn to eat spaghetti, we'd be enthused if we learn to get the
      learning ball rolling real fast ...  If we *focus* on "eating out loud",
      *later* we can reflect and select the next forkful.

      Sorry if this makes you hungry or no-thankyou-ish, depending on your
      timezone. :-)


      ----- Mensaje original -----
      De: Janet Feldman <kaippg@...>
      Fecha: Viernes, Febrero 17, 2006 3:34 am
      Asunto: [holistichelping] 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:
      > *
      > * http://www.linux.org/groups/index.html
      > * http://www.linux.org/groups/kenya.html
      > * http://www.linuxkenya.net/
      > 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
      > kenyalinux-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      > (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.timbuktuchronicles.blogspot.com/
      > * 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$1 (?).
      > *
      http://solarray.blogspot.com/2004/12/human-power-stations.html (and
      > links).
      > Lucas
      > Janet,
      > 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
      > working openly.
      > 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
      > our thoughts.
      > 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?
      > Thank you!
      > Andrius

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