Trip to Opuwo


In August 2013 our local core team from the Polytechnic of Namibia, Gereon Kapuire, Colin Stanley, Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, together with Prof Edwin Blake from the University of Cape Town met a new and exciting rural community next to Opuwo in the North-West of Namibia. As part of our new project phase in which we are exploring transferability of the tool and methods developed in the Omaheke region we are now engaging with communities from the Himba ethnical tribe. The community members we were introduced to by our new friend John (The Artist) welcomed us and eagerly participated in our HomesteadCreator tool evaluation and Crowd Sourcing exercise. An amazing experience was the speed with which the community members grasped the idea of the tool as well as the skillfulness in the technology interactions, which are mostly touch-based. Offering an adaptation of the system to the local Kunene context and asking the community members about their wishes for 3D models, the participants knew exactly what they wanted. One man and one woman went with the tablet around taking pictures of objects, animals and people they considered to be of significance, at time requesting others to pose or position objects, like a calabash. The confidence of the choices and the informative conversations during this exercise was an extremely enriching experience to all of us computer scientists. The community members asked us to come back as soon as possible (which we did see blog entry below). Back in town (Opuwo), John arranged another technology exploration session with four elders. Again the engagement and skillfulness of technology interactions was startling. Discussing possible adaptations to the himba ethnical group the elders, younger pas a bys and John collectively drew up on a piece of paper physical arrangements of huts and objects they explained to us as being relevant. All in all the trip was an extremely rewarding and informative journey.

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