Saturday, September 15, 2007

What happened to spare fun time?

I'm back and forth from Durban and Jo-burg as I strive through the last four months of my internship with IDRC. Currently, I'm trying to bag this research project analysis on mobile phones and technology spending and its relation to poverty in rural Kenya and Uganda. Yesterday I took a half day course with Hilary at UKZN's ITD school on the qualitative tool, Nvivo. Super simple to use and I think will be useful to sort out my 200+ pages of transcripts (yes, it took me literally 2 weeks to listen to tapes and do this). My only issue is that Nvivo7 only works on Apples with the intel chip and I'm one generation behind with my iBook G4. Doh. Looks like time for an upgrade when I get back to Vancouver! In the meanwhile, I'm attempting to download free versions of HyperResearch and Tams Analyzer to see if they can do the same job. I'm also do it the old school way, wading through the date on paper with post-its, highlighters and coloured dots as I'm a visual learner, but time is running out and I need something interesting for my presentation to the School of Development Studies on Oct8!

Recently, I was sent this wicked article on Buddeblog called, "Changing societies and the role of telecoms" and makes you re-think again, what's with all the work and where's the balance of giving back to society or at least having fun?

This blog talks about people having more time to engage in social activities when they have telecommunication technology. It reminds me of a comment from a man in Meru, Kenya, when I was conducting interviews... We were talking about the time when the community was having water installed into homes. He recalls one neighbor protested paying for the water and asking, “what will my wife do if she does not fetch water?”. Can you imagine? Rather keep her busy fetching water and keep her from doing other social or functional activities.

I like his props to Canadians and New Zealanders on working to integrate Aboriginal culture (still a way to go but trying more than other countries!)

I especially like this paragraph:

“With the economy changing from scarcity to surplus we should use this unique opportunity to tap into these old cultures, with a view to re-evaluating ourselves, our lives and our communities. A good starting point would be to study these cultures, to try and find some answers to the environmental changes that are currently having such a serious impact. As I write this, half of Greece is on fire – how many more warnings do we need before we start to make changes?”