Wednesday, 2 November 2022

A day with Erkki Sutinen in Namibia

You wake up early and full of excitement over what lays ahead just to realize that nothing will happen until Erkki first wake up which can take some time. Hmm wondering if there will be any breakfast today…

Eventually he wakes up and we head in to Opuwo town for breakfast, by this time you are starting to get hungry and all you can think of is food, but not Erkki as SWAPO is in town so this is an opportune time for networking. Before you know it he has hooked up with a couple of regional commissioners that joins our table and discussions of plans including almost everything between heaven and earth is in full swing. Luckily you get a few bites in between all the conversations and eventually you have to hint that maybe it is time to get to our program for the day.

A bit late but still full of energy we go and see the street engineers at their humble workshop. They get to share what they are busy with and we make some arrangements for the rest of the day. Meanwhile Erkki is contacting a journalist for the national broadcasting company that is busy with making news coverage as Prime minister is in town. The journalist gives us a window of opportunity to meet her as long as we make it quick before she needs to cover the prime ministers program. We pack the car full of street engineers and equipment, swing by our guest house to pick up some robotics and head off to meet with the journalist. The journalist gets very excited of what we are doing with the street engineers and some plans are made to get some media coverage of our joint activities.

After that we head off to do some shopping of equipment for the street engineers for the workshop. Luckily Erkki has an 8-seater car so we can comfortably fit the 3 of us and 4 street engineers as well as equipment. We continue to our guest house to do the workshop there. On the agenda is for the street engineers to make use of my Micro:bit robots and use that as the base for some new car designs. After giving a bit of a run through how the robots work the street engineers start their creative magic. It does not take them long before they have a clear idea of what they want to design and off they go. A couple of hours later the body of the cars are taking shape and it starts to look like they might be able to deliver on the challenge of building 2 smart cars in 2 days. The sun is scorching hot but no one is complaining.

Hunger however starts to kick in and we conclude that it is time to find some place for lunch. But first Erkki thinks we should have a small practical math class with the street engineers. The math class is centered on figuring out a suitable size for the toy car factory. First we need to establish how long a meter is… To illustrate this we make use of the knowledge the street engineers have of their own height. Erkki’s brilliant idea is for the street engineers to lie down on the dusty ground to further establish the size of a square meter. Eventually we have reached a conclusion that a factory of the size 10m*15m would be more than sufficient. Next venture will be to go and have a look at the plot allocated for the street engineers and establish where on the plot to place the factory. Eventually we head in to Opuwa for a very late lunch. Opuwa is a fairly small town and there are not many places to choose in-between. The obvious choices are being closed for the public as they are hosting functions for the SWAPO VIPs that are in town. After some driving around it seems the only option is the creative pump station in town that has some tables and serve some microwave ready foods. At the petrol station we run into the artist who so nicely decorated the pump station and made it into a local waterhole in town. Erkki made sure this is another talented youth we should bring onboard. Before we know it he is all involved in designing the plans for the new toy car factory together with the street engineers.

After dropping the street engineers back at their workshop and giving them some homework for the night we are tired and ready to head back to the guest house. Erkki is however still full of energy and now suggest we head to the fancy Country lodge in town for a drink, the actual agenda is probably rather to rub more shoulders with SWAPO politicians. As my contact lens is giving me troubles I however manage to sway the idea around to head back to guest house for a small breather.  I use my time to write down these reflections and guess soon it’s time to head back into town and squeeze some more juice out of this day.

Something tells me I will come back to Cape Town full of new impressions and experiences but also a tiny bit exhausted J


Anonymous Victim of Erkki Virus

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Eritrea - Eritrea Institute of Technology

First day at EIT (Eritrea Institute of Technology) with planning and fruitful meetings with Coordinators, Vice Principal, Deans of Education, Science and Engineering, Finn Church Aid and University of Helsinki.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Kenya 26-30 Nov, 2015

Two and a half years ago me and Heidi got married. Then Deborah and Etienne promised us a trip to Kenya as a wedding present. Somehow timing was never right until now when we got to spend a few lovely days in Kenya while my parents were also in the country. Unfortunately however Etienne could not make it. While having a wonderful time we missed the presence also of Maria who recently became mother and Jonas of course that always used to add a lot of laughs and sparks to these kind of trips.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

University of Limpopo

Visit to the Science Centre, FabLab and University

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Hermanus visit with Ethel

Windy day and at first hardly any whales but after some time they gave us a spectacular show with a lot of jumping action :)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Grahamstown, Rhodes University

Walked the town today and run into a student demonstration. They wanted to decolonize the institution by for instance enforcing a university council of 50% blacks to better represent the interests of the majority of students and the Eastern Cape community. As usual in South Africa demonstrating meant cheerful singing and dancing to get their voices heard.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Seaview Lion Park

Monday, 13 April 2015

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

How many types of rice do you know, there is apparently more than basmati and jasmine... Came across some celebrations as it is 40 years since the Americanos where kicked out (or something along those lines...)

Monday, 2 March 2015

Jason Mraz - Cape Town

Awesome concert that brought back sweet wedding memories as we danced to his 'Lucky'. The supporting girlband Raining Jane were a great match!