Meeting the family

Today we finally made it all the way back to my children's family in Bagamoyo Tanzania. They were greeted by their Uncle, cousins and Grandmother (Bibi) with hugs and smiles all around. When asked about gifts to bring along the requests were for mobile phones and laptops. I can't begin to describe how absolutely delighted our Bibi was to recieve a Galaxy Note III as a gift. Having a communication device, with smartphone features, is so highly valued by everyone I meet.

We ate delicious Pilau food and the world's best pineapple! I tried some African opaque beer that tasted lime strawberry wine. Children seemed to appear from everywhere to greet us. I spent most of my time chatting to some young Tanzanians about the possibility of mobile learning. They were very excited about the idea of usingmultimedia in learning. They are dancers, rappers and performing artists. Some of themare studying at the Bagamoyo College of Arts. In drama, performance, sculpture and acrobatics.

We reviewed a few apps and they accepted my challenge to create Swahili versions. They could imagine the children from the bush enjoying this type of learning but did advise on including a tutorial. Maybe we should make a bet on this as I think a child under 8 will figure out how to use a tablet unassisted. They invited me to go out to the bush and assured me it is not as unbearably hot as the coastal areas.


Comic Strips

One of the concepts we are testing in Tanzania is the use of comics as the first steps towards writing and telling stories. The children in this comic are three years old. Later today I will show this example to a few boys who are 7 to 10 years old and see how they can copy remix and share their own simple comic strips.

Goats, Beer and Mobiles

This afternoon my children and I heard the beat of the drum and some percussion instruments from a neighbour's yard. We joined the crowd and tried to see the women dancing in the centre.

One woman seemed to be the main performer and was rather tipsy (or was this an act?) My first surprise was to notice that many women were wearing wigs. My next surprise was that about half of the crowd were videoing the event on their mobile phones. One lady had a digital video camera. I was not sure of my place to film so I chose to leave my camera behind.

The performing woman dancer seemed to be throwing items at a seated woman ( who was also enjoying a beer) Nappies and baby items had been placed on one side of a circle and were being presented to a woman who had just given birth. There were many gifts including finally ... a goat! And then the party got a little wild and I was glad my kids couldn't quite see ;)

I do wish I had filmed the scene of so many people all holding up mobile phones recording a performance. It was the same, if not more, than being at a school performance in Australia. I was left in no doubt that mobile technologies are a vital part of the daily life of people in Dar Es Salaam.