Jon and Marissa are living in Mzuzu, Malawi (where?). Jon is a Fulbright scholar working to harness the internet as an academic and economic resource for the Mzuzu University and the surrounding community. Marissa is an artist soaking in the inspiration of Malawi. She works with local artists and dedicates herself to volunteer work.

What happens when a Blogger dies?

Sad news has come. A good friend, and one of the great IT minds in Malawi, Mangaliso Jere has passed away. As my friend Mike McKay wrote, Mangaliso "was probably the most prolific Malawian blogger in the world, and he is being mourned and missed by many." We are all greatly saddened that he is no longer with us.

In his blog, Mangaliso left behind an impressive, amazing, and unique collection of thoughts on IT development in Malawi. I have referenced his writing many times in my work. When I heard he had passed away, I wondered, what happens when a blogger dies? Is their blog deleted after a certain time by the hosting company? What can we do to make sure that great electronic works like Mangaliso's are preserved alive on the internet even though the author is no longer able to maintain them?

Opportunity Bank of Malawi Website

Marissa and I have completed the website for Opportunity Bank of Malawi

Take a look...

We also made a website for Mayoka Village

Case Study: Overcoming the Digital Divide in Malawi

Our last week in Malawi, and there is one final success story to report! It seems the internet connectivity will be coming this year to the development offices of the CCAP church (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) in Ekwendeni (just 15km north of Mzuzu). I am very excited. Some of the most effective aide offices in all of Malawi are based in Ekwendeni and run by the CCAP church there. Decent internet connectivity is only going to increase the productivity of people who are already doing some of the most effective development work in Malawi: fighting the spread of AIDS, opening clean water sources, treating sickness, and creating education and job opportunities for Malawians.

Extreme Makeover: School Edition

Standard 1 and Standard 4 classroom which we have painted with teaching aids and murals to improve the learning environment in Mzuzu schools. I have hired a Malawian friend to continue painting at Mzuzu schools see below (click the "read more" link) for the missions, core values, and budget of the project. If you would like to sponsor a classroom or donate in part please contact me. We are eager to finish painting the remaining 12 classrooms at Zolozolo Primary School and move onto other schools in Mzuzu.


Zolozolo Primary School Library Opening Ceremony

Yesterday I visited Zolozolo Primary School for the Grand Opening ceremonies for their new library. This school recieved 1.5 tons of books from the World Care shipment. Zolozolo has dedicated a small room for the library, built shelves, labeled everything by category, and are making arrangements for student library cards and class visits to the library for reading time. This is a school that only had 1 book per 6 or so kids before this shipment.

Recent Painting Sales

These two paintings recently sold. I wanted to post them here since I won't be showing them back home.
"The Village in The Sky" acrylic on canvas (left)
"Malawi Mama Returning Home" egg tempera (right)

WESM Artsfest November 10-13

Recently, I exhibited my landscape paintings at the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) Artsfest. It was a fund raiser for the organization, and an avenue for local artists and expat artists to professionally exhibit their work. Most Malawian artists rely on selling to tourists that they meed on the streets. Personally, I was impressed with the quality and variety of work at the show.


Presentation: The Status and Future of Mzuzu University Internet Connectivity

Over the past several months the ICT department of the Library has conducted an extensive analysis of Internet connectivity at Mzuzu University. Nkhaniyawo Nyirenda, of Mzuzu University, and Jon Saints, of The University of Arizona, will present the results of the analysis in order to educate and inform users of the Internet and influence future Internet policy decisions.

All members of staff and students and the general public are invited to attend.

Following the presentation there will a discussion session for members of staff
involved in ICT policy making.Presentation Discussion

Location: Mzuzu University Children’s Library
Date: November 24th 2006
Time: 1300 hours

Malawian Corkscrew

Malawian CorkscrewMalawian Corkscrew


Digital Development

If there really is development work to be done everywhere, then how best to go about it?

In my time here, I have come to believe more than ever in engineering, pure and empathetic put-me-in-your-shoes engineering, as one of the most effective strategies for realizing development. (Remember, I am thinking of development as increase in the amount of time that a person or group can foreseeably sustain their lives into the future.)

In the library the other day I came across an interview with the CEO of General Electric, Jeffery Immlet, who I find has been saying and doing very interesting things recently. In the interview Immelt says something to the effect of: