g h a n a

[ 03:00 tuesday 10 october – fitzjohn’s terrace , hampstead , london ]

right . think that’s just about everything . i’ll be on a train from liverpool street station in five hours on my way to stansted airport . at the airport i’ll be meeting ann and jamie cotton to collect a digital video camera , a digital stills camera , a minidisc recorder and a few other bits . then off to ghana with klm on the 10:20 via amsterdam . ann is the founder and director of camfed , the development education charity for whom i am doing the project in tamale ( http://www.camfed.org.uk ) .

stansted , grey and cool in the anglian flatlands .

i shall land in accra , the ghanaian capital on the south-facing atlantic coast . there i hope i might be met by someone from rains , a local development organisation , and accompanied to tamale up in the northern region . a town of a couple of hundred thousand , the regional capital . there is electricity , sometimes . also some telephone wires .

on the 25th of October a new centre will open in tamale . i shall be setting up a computer network and giving training , helping a group of local people to document themselves and the opening of the centre , doing my best to support whatever talents i find in the community .

[ info

contact phone number : +233 71 23406
this is the rains office in tamale

for the time being any post could be sent to :

RAINS
PO Box 27er
Tamale
N/R
Ghana

but i really don’t know how reliable it’s likely to be

info ]

these three weeks have been bloody knackering , i’ll tell you !

i travelled non-stop from fabrizio , viola and kiriku’s appartment in milan to the sse’s conference in the oh-so-green countryside near chester , there to talk to students about email and group communication . a few days later i was at a seminar on venture philanthropy hosted by mkinsey’s and co-organised by sse . during the evening i spoke to some very interesting people .

then i managed to spend a weekend with mum and dad in gloucestershire , peaceful and refreshing amongst autumnal farmland . they were just returned from travels in france . i enjoyed riding my bike again , on the muddy roads . practicing bach preludes and fugues on my great-grandmother’s old broadwood . but also i had to unpack everything from italy and repack for africa . mum and dad have been very good about the fact that their home now houses the majority of my clothes , books and so on , but they know it will not be for long .

then to cambridge to catch up with alistair white and steven bartlett at fontal , an information management business in the st john’s innovation centre . on the way back i grabbed a moment to drop in on ray jobling , my tutor when i was an undergraduate and my study guide during the year in the isles of scilly . i wanted to ask his opinion on the possibility of getting access to libraries in cambridge and the appropriate etiquette for pestering people doing research in fields of interest .

then back to london for many discussions with james , craig , seb and others about setting up learning web , a joint venture between sse and circus . we worked through the development plan i wrote on stromboli – and wrote again in palermo and milan . assessed what resources would be needed , how they could be secured , how system development should be staffed , managed , structured .

in the meanwhile i have had to organise the replacement of the equipment i lost (apple powerbook g3 , extra battery , high speed scsi card , internal 250mb zip drive , decent mouse , memory upgrade , flash card adaptor for my snapshots , battery charger for my digital camera) , reinstalled all the software i use , sketched out a design for another powerbook case and faxed it down to ratbags sail loft in the isles of scilly (the case did not arrive in time for my departure so my smaller backpack will have to suffice unless the new one makes it to ghana somehow) .

i’ve had my jabs , purchased my malaria pills , a portable mosquito net , a map of ghana and a guide , a swiss army knife incorporating tools for dealing with computer equipment and other electronics (wire-stripper , range of screwdriver heads , pliers &c) (this was mum and dad’s birthday present to me – thanks !) .

i’ve set up homepages for an electronic debate with the sse millennium award winners in glasgow and salford and done my best to help things along .

i’ve made my first sketches of the circus constitution . after five years of trying to design a new species of decentralised organisation i hope to complete a full draft soon .

and this evening i signed an agreement with james smith of sse saying that i will live in london for the first six months of next year and focus almost exclusively on learning web . this was not at all what i was thinking of doing . i was looking forward to visiting sri lanka with my friend andrew , who was born there . it is a place which i know i shall find fascinating and andrew would be a delightful companion . but when james urged me to agree to spend six months here in london i didn’t put up much of a fight . i knew he was right . it is ironic that a venture concerned entirely with dispersed systems and their employment must be sparked off by a co-located team . i must brace myself for a spell in this climate , after a year spent largely beneath the sun in one part of the world or another . but

some more snapshots from italy , presented in the new navigation structure :

http://www.charlesarmstrong.net/snapshots/2000-08-18
http://www.charlesarmstrong.net/snapshots/2000-08-25

thanks mum and dad , jean and seb , craig and heidi , tom and mark , christian and bridget , for your hospitality .

clare , i hope your foot is ok . sorry we didn’t overlap in italy , we’ll manage it next year for sure .

ash and inaki , it was terrific to see both of you again .

caroline , i tried to get hold of you at the ft . i don’t have the phone number for your new house .

well i’d better book a cab and get a little sleep . i have a feeling this is going to be a long day .

warm wishes to all of you , my friends old and new . it may be some time before i am able to get online again .

: cH

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