Did I say yesterday, I had a lot of impressions? Now, I have even more.
We had our first presentation in front of our client today. But one by one.
As we are 4 subteams, each of us is working on different projects, but we go as a whole group to all the kick off presentations. First one in the morning was for Women Enterprise Fund, that is supporting women in their small businesses. We get off to their office early in the morning, although it’s not too far, it took us almost hour to get there because of traffic. I believe it would take us 20 minutes walking, however, we are not allowed. Meeting starts with the prayer, that was very unusual, they thanked to God that he sent us to them. Actually, I have to say, it was very nice and sweet from them, they always spoke about us as a gift from heaven. Establishing relationship and informal talks before you go to business is crucial in Kenya, basically, you won’t succeed without doing that.
Now, let’s talk about our presentation. As mentioned yesterday, our client is Strathmore university, its IT department has by far the best reputation in country and after the visit, I can only confirm. We arrived there, passed the security check (everywhere you go, even to shopping mall, you have to pass the security check, or two) and were immediately amazed by the facilities. Modern building, with hubs for students to work on their projects. I have to say, I was very nervous, my first thought was, jeez, we should learn from them, not they from us! University has established cooperation with many IT companies, they work on health, IT security and other issues. Students are mentored by businessmen. So the audience we presented to was the dean of faculty, director of iLabAfrica (innovation hub within Starthmore university) and other representatives plus students finishing their master degree. Our presentation went well. I have to say, I was impressed. Impressed by the university as such and by such a hunger of students for learning new things. I was completely borne away by a girls sitting there and talking about the projects they run to improve life in Africa. 21 year old girl asked us: “I have 2 applications developed, would you be able to help me build a business around it?” I was very surprised to hear, that almost 50% of students are girls (IT). And you should see the building. It’s build in eco style, once all the work is finished, it will be able to produce so much electricity from solar panels, that they can even sell it. They don’t use aircon, because the ventilation system is perfect and there is supposed to be a “waterfall” inside, that will cool down the building. We had a lot of chat with students and head of lab afterwards, so many thoughts I have to digest.
I was asking myself questions, why it doesn’t work this way in Slovakia? Every student has to work on either developing applications or real projects. How many 21 year old students work on their business plan? I’m sure there is couple of them, but why don’t we make our universities work this way?
Another learning point from today, I’ve just reminded myself something I’ve know for long time, sports really matters. After the day when you worked hard and thought too much, nothing helps your body and mind better than some sports. So whenever you can, move, your body and brain deserves it 🙂
One more question I’m asking myself today, did we come here to teach people something or did we come here to learn from them?…..