Monday, May 15, 2006


This morning Rogers (Carl's life support system) wanted to show me something outside. I stepped out and found a chicken. He asked if I wanted it roasted or fried for dinner.

Jon and I ran one of the first brainstorming sessions that Soroti, Uganda has ever seen. I ran into town with Helen on the back of my bicycle (Alfred's bicycle) to find a big flipover pad of paper and some twine to hang it up on the wall. We armed everybody with a pad of post its, a pen, colored sticker dots and cookies. I'm not sure what I expected. I've participated in many a brainstorm and run a few myself but typically with other designers who know the routine.

We started by giving an introduction to what designers are here for. We are problem solvers. Our training involves learning methods to identify problems, which explained the incessant videotaping this week, and skills for creating solutions. We showed them the short video clips that we had edited down from hours of video to explain where we had identified problems. In some cases the solutions were pretty straightforward and in others not so clear. We had them identify the problem and propose solutions. Everybody contributed. That was the rule and we enforced it. We had 12 problems identified and although it was a long session the Kiva staff here in Soroti stayed tuned in and I think they understood what we are here to do and they helped us to do it. There were nine of us in a small hot room with no fan because we turned off the generator in order to be able to hear the sound of the videos playing on a laptop. By the end of the session the wind had started to blow in through the window cooling us down and signaling a storm and shortly thereafter it poured. I claimed that our storm begat a storm.

Moses called me late last night to tell me how happy he was with the session. He said that the staff stayed after chatting about it after we went home. Jon and I chatted excitedly about it on the way home and planned for another short session tomorrow.

We came home to find Rogers roasting chicken and bananas. We ate well.


Blogger cale said...

Rogers just passed through the room and I showed him that he had been featured on the internet. He let out a typically gleeful high pitched sigh that I have come to expect from East Africans when they find themselves represented by technology. I hear it anytime someone sees themselves on the LCD screen of a digital camera or DV camera.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Matthew Flannery said...

thanks cale. I'm now checking your blog every few hours for updates. this is fascinating stuff, keep it up. I just posted your video to my blog as well. people are commenting on it

6:09 PM  
Blogger muloe said...

I just happened to be browsing around and found your blog!!! I see you are beginning to get the feel for things there.... your post on "Ugandans never say NO" says that you are starting to understand them! :)) I hope my predictions of what you would find were not too far off the mark. It seems, though, that I underestimated the power issue... perhaps it has become worse since I left.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

roasted chicken! mmm mmm mmm

9:03 PM  

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