Updates from all the teams in the field start trickling in. Even before the last team departed, the first team had already arrived to destination, and so the first piece of news comes from Gwyn Jones, instructor of D-Lab: Cycle Ventures, who reports that he arrived in Delhi safely, and is now staying at Dr. Sarmah's place. If you had been following this blog in the fall, you may recall that we hosted Dr. Pradip Sarmah at MIT this past semester to lecture in a couple of D-Lab classes and present his work on the Rickshaw Bank.
Trip leader and D-Lab staff member, Jessica Huang, reports that the D-Lab Cambodia team is settling in Phnom Penh, where after starting the day with a dim sum breakfast, they are off to a meeting with one of the local community partners, in this case International Development Enterprises (IDE) with whom they will be working together exploring the idea of an innovation center for local entrepreneurs in a rural area. In the cultural immersion aspect of the trip, they are planning to join a daily gathering in the stadium across the street where they are staying to practice yoga or some sort of group exercise that happens every night.
D-Lab Tanzania also reports to have arrived safely in Arusha, in the Kilimanjaro region in the North of the country, where they will be setting base camp for most of their trip. They have been welcomed by Jodie Wu and Daniel Mokrauer-Madden, former D-Lab students and MIT alumni, who are running a technology-based start-up, Global Cycle Solutions, that develops and sells affordable, accessible, and appropriate technologies in the form of bicycle add-ons such as corn sheller and a mobile phone charger. Part of Global Cycle Solutions is also Bernard Kiwia, prolific Tanzanian inventor, who has been invited to MIT several times under the Visiting Practitioners program to mentor and coach D-Lab students in the process of designing appropriate technologies for the developing world.
Amy Smith, D-Lab's founder and course instructor, is leading the D-Lab trip to Ghana, and she reports from Kumasi, the second largest city in the country. They are staying at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where among many other events, this summer the International Development Design Summit will be hosted. After a few hours of sleep, they got up and started planning the day, then headed into Suame Magazine, the site of Africa's largest informal manufacturing center-- around 100,000 artisans and metal workers, where the trip leaders, Amy and Kofi reconnected with old friends, and got the team to start working on their projects. Amy reports that the team is doing great--spirits are high and they are making good progress.
Lots of things happening in many places with a common denominator: discovery, dialogue, development; that's what D-Lab stands for!