more first world misanthropy?

Hi Karl

You’ve caught me on a particularly bad hair day today. Ouch.

If WCE stands for World Computer Exchange, you’ve chosen the wrong country to be a Programme Officer; indeed, we are still suffering a recent unilateral “long-term” educational technology blunder by this particular WCE (with Peace Corps and Rotary Club) since the patronising first world fuckknuckle who orchestrated this misanthropic disaster timed his departure perfectly, leaving various ill-equiped recipients of second-hand WCE trash in the lurch, neglecting to address long term technical support responsibilities and naively expecting the locals to *gratefully* pick up the pieces ….

Obviously, if you’ve obtained credentials from some other partisan first world bleedin’ heart brigade (not WCE – they DO NOT have credentials with relevant ICT development stakeholders in Namibia!), who may be intent on patronising Namibia with some more unilateral and ill-conceived misanthropy, without the Ministry of Education ICT steering committee vouchsafing these intentions, then so be it. We’ll find out soon enough, and make a very public fuss. Please read our National ICT Policy for Education to understand your obligations to our very legitimate civil society concerns.

I strongly advise that you distance yourself from this WCE as soon as possible; with your art college background (and conditional on you having a valid work/study permit/visa) you shall find very positive and encouraging engagement from SchoolNet and others (e.g., MATS – College of the Arts) by sharing your skills in a local realm which is likely to benefit from your expertise. If you have Joomla, Dreamweaver, PHP and MySQL experience, this would be a boon. By the way, we don’t do Moodle – we do KEWL; check out our FLOSS partners’ — GetOpenLab and KEWL — websites for insights to our richly diverse use of FLOSS in Namibia. You might also consider becoming conversant with Hai Ti!, our educational comic.

On the other hand, if you ARE intent on remaining a programme officer for this WCE, may I suggest that you go do this in rural Mexico; it would be a distinctively cheaper sabbatical, psychologically less devastating, and the local mescal will give you fantastic gender-bending experiences to share with your partner Suzanne on your travel-wise return to New York.

I further suggest you read my blogs at tatejoris.blogspot.com for my views on first world misanthropy. You probably think that I’m jealously protective of (appropriate) ICT development in Namibia’s education sector — you’re absolutely right.

Cheers

Joris Komen

On 9 Dec 2005, at 04:02, KA Peltomaa wrote:

Dear Mr. Joris Komen:

My name is Karl Peltomaa and I am WCE’s new Programme Officer for Namibia. I will be arriving in Namibia January 21st and will be in-country until June 7th. I am planning to make my affiliation with WCE and the work I will do Namibia the beginning of a long-term engagement with educational technology in Namibia. In preparation for my work, I have gained knowledge of your past and current work from reports, website info, and from reading the AFLUG list. I believe that it would be mutually beneficial for our organizations if we could coordinate/collaborate.

In my current day-to-day work, I am an instructor at the Art Institute of New York City where I teach various computer courses; networking, project management, and web scripting. I have, for some time, been using open-source software and am in the process of introducing the Moodle learning management system at my institution (my Moodle site is http://www.mooded.com/moodle).

I am willing to work with SNA on a volunteer basis. My wife, Suzanne, and I are on sabbatical from our colleges. She is an anthropologist and will be conducting research in collaboration with the Gender Research and Advocacy Project at the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope to meet and work with you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Karl A. Peltomaa

Previous iterations of this theme ….

April 2005 – delusions of adequacy by Timothy Anderson – left me speechless:-)

Hello Michael,

Our Board voted to enter into partnership with the Tsandi Teachers Resource Center. Thank you for all of your hard work there as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

We still will need the list of schools and centres as well as the total number of youth to be impacted. Your plan is posted at this url:

http://www.worldcomputerexchange.org/partner_plans/Namibia-PCV-Plan.doc

I received, signed, and mailed back our agreement.

Please send me the e-mail address of Olavi Angula.

Let me know when you and they are ready for a donation certificate and proforma invoice.

I got to spend some time with Joris Komen again last week while I was in Dublin. I also met the new GeSCI

[we sat across a table from each other during a short workshop and exchanged polite niceties]

faciliator for Namibia as well as some people from the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport, and Culture. I talked the most with Johan van Wyk their Deputy Director of the Division of Information Technology. I also met with Sean Nicholson, an Education Technology Specialist with Microsoft Namibia. These people all may be helpful as we go forward in Namibia.

Best wishes,

timothy

Timothy Anderson
President
World Computer Exchange (international)
World Computer Exchange – Canada

my missive to Mr Wick on 24 October 2004

Barry

I am NOT sorry that you construed my response as “harsh”; SchoolNet has weathered many naive, “bleedin heart, drop ‘n run” philanthropies these past 5 years, and one more does not burden the reality that such “trick or treat” generosity does more harm than good in the well-defined framework of ICT development in education in Namibia. Welcome to the real world – I wasn’t even having a bad hair day when I wrote yesterday’s response to your patronising little note.

I am not sure what you mean by “discussion”. …. I would, at worst, call it unilateral delinquency, or at best, an example of what I call a senior moment.

As I recall, you have priorly asked SchoolNet to provide temporary storage-space at our Ondangwa workshop. No further discussion was held in this regard.

You had also priorly indicated that all the donated PCs would be pre-loaded with M$FT OS. [… I presume this also implies, quid pro quo, that these donated PCs shall each have a decent application suite and educational content, under license from M$FT…]

You had also indicated that you would deliberate which schools would benefit from your generosity.

NO discussion was ever held on this matter – noisome, considering that SchoolNet DOES NOT provide technical training or maintenance support to multiple operating systems at any school in Namibia. SchoolNet can only provide such essential support to schools which have our OpenLab solution in place. This for very good reason – we simply DO NOT have the qualified human resource to support other operating systems.

To date I still wait for a list of schools and the PC quota/school that this arbitrary generosity intends to serve.

Within the framework of our SchoolNet service to schools, such a list is very important to us. We shall need it to revise our existing service contracts with such schools where there will be such overlap.

I do understand from a number of Peace Corps volunteers in northern Namibia that such overlap will be imminent. While still waiting for Waldo to provide critical information, I have no concrete contemporary knowledge of which schools will receive or retain Peace Corps in 2005, so will reserve further comment until I see both lists.

I also wait to see a structured proposal from you or your principals as to how this delivery is going to be supported by “volunteers” in the framework of non-existent M$FT maintenance and support services to the Namibian education sector.

It is incredibly arrogant and patronising of you to presume that these “volunteers” can be burdened with the responsibility of “expertise” and capability of technical service support implied in your most recent remark. Eric Kouskalis, the only extant (and genuinely competent) M$FT contracted service volunteer (World Teach) leaves at end of November. Schools can obviously seek technical service support from reputable commercial IT vendors in Windhoek, but at significant cost, or take a risk with a limited few chancers in Oshakati.

I presume also that the public library recipients will obtain their technical service support directly from the MBESC IT Department, in the same manner it presently provides technical service support to the recipients of the Chinese computer donation a year or so ago.

Given the relation between MBESC, Peace Corps and SchoolNet under the USAID funded SchoolNet GDA, I expect there SHALL be transparency on various aspects of your generosity in the VERY IMMINENT future.

Joris Komen

At 10:36 pm -0600 23/10/04, Barry Wick wrote:
Joris,

I’m also copying Selma and Howard of the Peace Corps on your note.

You and I have been in discussion on the Rotary Club project for two years now. The Rotary Club has partnered with Peace Corps in a number of countries, probably some that have SchoolNet too. The computers will end up at schools in the North with volunteers, so that there will be support and expertise on site.

I’m sorry that your note was so harsh. I certainly have high regard for SchoolNet and have enjoyed our association.

Barry
From: Joris Komen
To: “Barry Wick” , theo@schoolnet.na
CC: staff@schoolnet.na, wjunius@na.peacecorps.gov, jvanwyk@mec.gov.na
Subject: Re: thanks for everything
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 11:43:12 +0200

Hi Barry

I hope you enjoyed your voluntary stint in Namibia.

After the public library services have picked out all their items of choice from the rotary container, and the leftovers arrive somewhere in northern Namibia, who will manage the refurbishment, software, and subsequent deployment and installation of these leftovers at the schools in the north? Who will provide the essential support services to these schools which receive these leftovers?? And for how long?

My immediate guess is you’ll go down in Namibia’s ICT development history books as another misguided patronising drop ‘n run do-gooder.

If there’s anything you can do from the US to help SchoolNet, is to learn from the ENSUING lessons to be learned by the folks left to deal with YOUR responsibilities, and NEVER undertake such a venture again.

God forbid!!

Enjoy your warm sense of well-being when you’re back in colorado. I will make sure that you and your principals are kept WELL-INFORMED of the short, medium and long-term outcomes of your misguided generosity.

Joris Komen
Director
SchoolNet Namibia

At 2:54 am -0600 23/10/04, Barry Wick wrote:
Joris and Theo,

I’m here for another month and then return to Colorado. Thanks for all your help during the two years that we’ve been here. Really appreciate all your support. If there is anything I can do from the U.S. to help SchoolNet, please let me know. My address is as follows.

Barry Wick
1110 Sparta Drive
Layafatte, Colorado 80026
U.S.A.
303-926-4356
barrywick_peacecorps@hotmail.com

By the way, the Rotary Club computers have finally arrived after many delays. We will distribute them to schools in the North for use by new volunteers for the 2005 school year.

Best wishes,

Barry Wick
Peace Corps Namibia

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