As promised (threatened?), here’s the video evidence from Saturday’s Project TOTO farewell party. I feel… honoured. And only slightly insulted.
Thanks heaps to ’Pong for the video work (although I did the cutaways which allowed him to edit it). Apologies to Mark Pesce, whose to-camera piece wasn’t recorded properly — although we can see him lurking in the background in his lovely red jumper, and raising his eyebrows quizzically.
Also, I am too fat.
It’s D-1. I depart from Sydney airport in just 29.5 hours. I still have a million things to do. I am incredibly stressed. I hope to write more later today. My Twitter stream will reveal more, however.
Photographic evidence of Saturday’s Farewell Party for Project TOTO — or the going-away-and-maybe-not-coming-back-party as it was dubbed — has started to emerge at the Project TOTO Flickr Group.
Note especially one aspect of geek nature: of the five humans in the foreground, only one is not using a mobile computing device, and he’s reaching for a beer. And yet we’re all still connected with each other in the room, as well as with everyone else.
Note also the Sony Z1P HD video camera in the foreground: apparently video evidence will emerge later too.
Just for the record, from left to right that’s business analyst Jodie Miners; futurist and minor TV personality Mark Pesce; my partner ’Pong; and founders of Open Australia, katska and Matthew Landauer.
[Photo: Going away may be not coming back party by Kate Carruthers.
But if she’s in the photo, who took it?]
The delightful but dangerous Kate Carruthers has confirmed that the Project TOTO going-away-and-maybe-not-coming-back-party is on Saturday 20 June from 3pm at Kelly’s On King, 285 King Street, Newtown in Sydney. If you use Facebook, the electric friendship generator, then you can RSVP over on the event page. Otherwise just tell me. Or just turn up.
My friend Kate Carruthers has decided that we need a Facebook group for Project TOTO. So there it is. You should join, if for no other reason than you’ll be invited to the Stilgherrian’s-going-to-get-killed-so-say-goodbye Party next Saturday 20 June. Probably.
My plan to blog daily hasn’t gone so well, but yesterday’s briefing session at ActionAid Australia went just fine. My head is exploding with information and possibilities. Here’s the brain dump.
- Assuming everything goes to plan, I’ll arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday 27 June. Two weeks from today. So I leave Sydney in about 12 days, flying (probably) via Perth and South Africa.
- I’ll have most of Saturday to myself to relax and get used to the idea of, you know, being in goddam motherfucking Africa. I’ll also catch up with ActionAid Australia researcher Lena Aahlby, who’s heading over a week before me.
- Sunday 28 June is orientation day with ActionAid Tanzania. “Great, meetings on a Sunday,” I thought. But no. We’re catching the ferry to Zanzibar, like where there’s fabulous tropical beaches, to see for myself that right next to those 5-star resorts there’s the most abject poverty.
- ActionAid Tanzania has chosen two people to be their first official bloggers. They’re based in Dar es Salaam, but travel regularly to all the field projects. One specialises in policy and governance, the other in communications. They can show us the real situation in poor rural areas, sure, but also explain why poverty continues.
- I’ll spend Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 June working with these guys to set up their blogs and introduce them to “social media culture”, for want of a word. We’ll do that in the Dar es Salaam office, where we’ll still have the 1Mb link and access to shops if we’re missing anything.
- For the rest of the week, we’ll travel Tanzania by 4WD and small aircraft, visiting as many field projects as we can fit in. The exact itinerary is still being worked out, but one priority is heading up to the north-west border to Lake Victoria and, oh, Rwanda. I’ve heard of that.
- My plan is that we’ll all post something at least once a day, words and at least one picture. Maybe we can post some video. I’ll be sending a bazillion tweets via my Twitter stream. But we’re also working on something special in the podcasting department, which I’ll tell you about later today.
- Since I’m only in the country a short time, I’ll be trying to connect the bloggers to as many people as possible. We’ve already discovered that ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) has one of their people blogging from Dar es Salaam, Pernille Baerndtsen — though of course she brings a European perspective.
So there you have it. Over the next 12 days I’ll be telling you what we’re doing and how you can help and so on. I will try to stick to my planned regime of daily posts.
There will be a going-away party announced soon too because, as Kate Carruthers so delightfully put it, “Let’s face it, you might get killed.” Cheers, Kate.
Oh, and ActionAid Australia also gave me a cultural briefing on Tanzania.
[Photos: Lutheran church in Dar es Salaam by Greenery; Lake Victoria, Tanzania, by Marc Veraart. Both used under a Creative Commons license.]
“The greatest challenge to implementing social media within any organisation is the willingness for that organisation to accept the cultural change that will ultimately occur. And occur dramatically and at a rapid pace. Social media holds a mirror up to an organization from the external customers/clients/constituents that shows an authentic, and sometimes unexpected, face.” — Nick Hodge
“I’d add that that face is almost always unexpected.” — Mark Pesce (in private conversation)
Clearly I’m not going to get anything else written until I respond to The Gnome Situation. I’ve been reading the comments and mulling possible responses for days. It’s getting in the way of actual, productive work. So here we go.
No. I will not be removing Gnaomi from my desk.
Discussing an issue as important as rape through the proxy of an anthropomorphised piece of clay seems, to me, a poor tactic. Nor will I compromise the actual or perceived independence of my media output, no matter how worthy the cause.
There’ll probably be people at ActionAid who won’t like or understand that outcome, so here’s the long explanation…
Continue reading “Look, about that damn topless gnome…”