26 November 2015

The first day of the conference.

Karibu – hello in Swahili.

My ordeal is over, everything was worth-while, had a great first day.
Hotel room is good, comfortable bed, hot water, good food. Kisumu is a fish area it is right on the shore of Victoria lake, so I am having fish everyday
The day started off with an explanation and apology about the misunderstand that occurred yesterday, I appreciated it and accepted it and we moved on.

I had a fantastic day today. The conference was very fruitful. A real interaction between cultures. The people are from, obviously from Bondo , but also from other universities in Kenya, from Congo DRC, Uganda, Netherlands and me (from Israel). It is very small so we have a lot of opportunity for real discussion, and real brainstorming.
The conference is about technological transfer and cultural interface. This is a very interesting subject which raises many questions. The main question which we are trying to answer is how can Africa take from the west technology which is appropriate for her and combine it with its own set of values. Or must technological adoption come with an adoption of the values of where it was designed or innovated. Big question. We will see where this takes us.
We are talking about the contributions Africa can make to the world. We discussed the openness of Africa to things that we do not accept in the west, there is no one or right answer for issues, there is more than two beings, of male and female, I am told that there are 12 in the bantu culture. And many other issues are being discussed. Religion is viewed very differently than it is viewed in many western cultures, there is more room for openness and less dogma. We are going very deep here……(loving it), I even learnt something about Jewishness, from our host. That in the Jewish faith it is a way of life, not dogma or just a faith, as well as it looks to the future. Obviously we in Israel feel very differently about this statement, we feel that there is much coercion in religion, but then I thought about ashkenazi and sphardic, thinking that we always say that if we can adopt the sphardic way, in which Jewish meant culture and a way of life it would be all different and less over bearing. And that the dichotomy of being religious or secular actually came from Europe, and put us in a spot where we must choose, it was a total non-issue in the northern African countries or the sphardic culture, where it was just a way of life, the secular/non secular issue has only been adopted recently by them as well, from the ashkenazi. Very interesting stuff.
So much more to talk about, but it might get too boring so I will stop.  
Two very nice Kenyan traditions: what we call a coffee break is called here a Health break, I thought this is a marvelous terminology, first time I heard it. And for their tea they have Milk water, which is actually milk diluted with water, great innovation. there are also diffrent kinds of ways of showing apprecition and clapping, really nice, difficult to discribe. loving this.

On our health break we got tea with milk water, a kind of sweet doughnut, and yams…..

Will continue to report tomorrow

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