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MY WORLD

It has been a while since I have posted anything on THIS blog! Got some inspiration to write again and this is all thanks to my baby daughter HANNAH .  She was born on the 5th February 2014  and needless to say my life has not been the same ever since .

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This being our first baby I was a bit concerned as to how to handle, change dypers   and just seeing to the well being of the little one . Its amazing how nature takes its course and how paternal instincts kick in . I am enjoying every minute of being a father and to see physical changes with the little almost every week.

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I do realize that this is one huge responsibility  and that it is not just for a few months or years , but for a life time . I strive to be the best dad that I can be and too install good values in my kids . I cannot hide them away from the world but I can equip them with good values that they can choose to use when faced with tough decisions they have to make .

Then not forgetting my  wife , my hero , the best mother that HANNAH could ask for .  I see the joy the little brings to her and how she enjoys every minute of being a mother. I can only but thank God for my family and for entrusting me to with this responsibility as the head of my home .

Breaking the ICE

The Ice Has Been Broken

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This blog has been DORMANT/STAGNANT for far too long! Every time when asked by my colleagues (Nathaniel Wagner) about when I was going to update my blog I would always justify by saying that I am too busy. Yes, I am busy but saying that I am too busy to blog is just an over reaction . When we do training with companies and do a Social Media strategy with them , we stress the importance of making time to update and engage on the various Social Media platforms. So why am I  not practicing this?

A worse case scenario would be if someone in the  training actually went to visit  my blog and see that I was not practicing what I was teaching. So….. I have decided to break the ice and start blogging again. Also I realize the responsibility that comes along with this blog post. I know that I will have my colleagues breathing down my neck and reminding me  of this blog post once they see no activity on this site. So here is *raises glass* to many more blog post to come!

This is Brent’s Journey and this journey WILL continue :-)

 

Prayer ends drug misery

This is an interview I done with: Christian Business Directory while I was in Tanzania.This is my story…

 

Prayer ends drug misery

A genuine desire for transformation led Brent to the answer

The morning I took this pic I was high on meth

In a neighbourhood where youth believed joining a gang was part of life, Brent Williams fell into this trap which led to drug dealing and violence, before a simple prayer rescued him from suicide.

Previously known as a kind person, he joined a gang and was soon addicted to methamphetamine and acting entirely out of character.

“I started to sell drugs to anybody to support my habit, as well as make a name for myself,” Brent says.

“The drugs I was using started to affect me mentally and that is when I realised that I needed help. But no matter how hard I tried I could not kick the habit.

“I believe that without a doubt that every drug addict out there is screaming out for help. Like them, I could not imagine a life without drugs.

“It just seemed impossible to stop. I believed that I would die a drug addict.”

Deep down he knew he had to kick the habit, as it was affecting loved ones around him.

“My parents reached out to me many times, but I rejected their efforts. I thought they were judging me when in fact all they wanted was to have their son back.”

After one three day drug binge, Brent came home one night so highly under the influence of drugs that he thought his parents were trying to kill him.

Retrieving a long kitchen knife, he nearly stabbed his own mother before something told him to stop.

“The blade literally stopped in front of her face,” Brent recalls. “I held them hostage for about four hours until the police finally arrived.”

Though his parents did not press charges, Brent continued binging on drugs until he was so tired of the never-ending need for money that he felt suicidal.

After announcing to his mother that he was going to kill himself that night, she suggested, “Why don’t you ask Jesus to help you in your situation?”

Brent remembers screaming back, “What can Jesus do for me!? How is He going to help me!?”

Then out of desperation, he thought to himself, “Brent, what do you have to lose?”

Having nowhere else to turn, he knelt by his bed and prayed, “Jesus, if you are real then You will help me with this drug problem I am battling with.”

After this prayer, Brent remembers: “I broke down in tears and wept like I have never wept before.

“At that moment it felt like all desire to ever want to do drugs again vanished!”

His mother asked someone from her church to come. He prayed with Brent and introduced him to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Even though I did not know Jesus I knew that it was the right thing to do,” Brent explains. “Here I was putting my trust in someone I could not see and knew nothing about. But it felt right.”

For six months, Brent studied the Bible, learning how Jesus had given His life for him and how to live at a Christian.

Brent then began reaching out to those still caught in the lifestyle he had introduced them to.

Me training my mom during one of the Social Media classes I teach at RLabs

“I felt I had betrayed these people, so Bradley, an ex-gang boss, and I went to some of the friends we did drugs with and invited them to a later meeting at a suitable time.

“They expected a prayer meeting, but instead we gently shared with these seven friends that there is a way out of this lifestyle. Since they personally knew us and how bad we were, we said that the changed lives of Bradley and I are testament to what God can do.

“By God’s grace, that evening all of them committed their lives to Christ, trusting in Him as Lord and Saviour.”

These nine men now serve Jesus Christ together doing intensive work in their community.

“This is our way of giving back to society,” Brent says. “I have realised that I may not be able to win over everyone that I have introduced drugs to, but there are so many others that I can reach out to.”

One of Brent’s first prayers was to ask God to restore his relationship with his family. He also immediately went to those he had misled, hurt and sold drugs to and asked for their forgiveness.

“My relationship with my parents has been restored,” Brent enthuses. “We now are once again a happy family and through God’s Word I have learnt the importance of honouring my parents.”

Despite what many believe, some troubles of life remain after becoming a Christian, Brent says.

“The difference is that now I have a Saviour I can ask for help to face them. In the past, I would turn to drugs and try to forget about them.

“Now, I go on my knees and pray, and I have a mentor who I can talk with.

“I am learning and growing spiritually each and every day. I think the important thing is not to condemn yourself when you fail but rather to immediately repent and learn from the mistakes that you have made.”

Brent is engaged to be married to Jessica in December 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out in the market place in Iringa

Introducing Mbeya Living Lab – RLabs and TanzICT

There was a  keen interest by the Gushit Team from Mbeya after reading a blog post that was written by Jukka  Siltanen on the TanzICT blog about the Social Media training we were doing with the community at  Kigamboni Community Centre . After discussions with Jukka  about them wanting to start something similar in Mbeya we  then decided to invite  them to the Iringa Living Lab training to get a first hand experience of what the training was all about.  After seeing what we were doing in Iringa they asked if we could then come to Mbeya and do similar training with members from their community. Gushit is a company that does web development for companies and they also train up students from the local university. Gushit said that the living lab concept was much needed in the Mbeya area and it was something they have been discussing for a while now.

 

After discussing this  with Kristiina we then agreed that I would go to Mbeya immediately after our 2 weeks training Iringa and start the process of setting up a living lab there. In Mbeya we  introduced the Living Lab concept to the community and they were excited to be part of this new initiative. We are had a  “Train the trainers “ workshop  with this group and they have agreed to transfer what they learnt in this workshop to the rest of the community.  Already some of the people in this were  speaking about doing training at their universities and with a group of abused women in the Mbeya  region. Also in this workshop there was a teacher from a disabled school and he was  very excited about starting Social Media training  with his scholars.Gushit has agreed that after the Social Media training they would get in someone to do some Entrepreneurship sessions with this group as part of their on- going training and capacity building . Gushit has a lab with 10 computers with a very reliable internet connection that is suitable for on going training with the community.

This was the 1st certificate this gentlemen has ever received in his life. He has never worked on a computer before and his progress during the training was amazing.This is our way of acknowledging him.

TanzICT and RLabs will be providing Mbeya Living Lab with ongoing support and are hoping to see more and more training sessions happening in the future.

 

Iringa Living Lab impacting many lives

RLabs and TanzICT started the  training the trainers in a computer lab at Tumaini University on 13th August. The participants were ordinary local people who were brave enough to take part in this trainers’ training although it could easily be seen that many of them were very nervous. We always believe that you should have fun while learning and before we started the training we had to put the participants minds at ease letting them know that we would go through the training slowly . We also assured them that there was nothing to be nervous about even if it was there first time operating a computer. We  gave them the freedom to stop us at any point  if there  was something that  they did not understand , and we would go over it again until they were clear about it.

It was amazing to see how confident the participants grew after just 2 days of working on the computers and the various Social Media platforms. Their nervous smiles soon turned into joyful laughter. It was good to see that the culture that was being created in this training.It  was one of helping each other when the other was in need. Often we would see participants come alongside their fellow students and assist where they could. Unknowingly to them they were slowly becoming social media facilitators that would train many others in their community.

After a week long training with this group it was now time for them to train up others. The idea was for them to now  have a week long training with a group of new participants from the community. We told them that we were stepping back and that they were going to have to run all the processes .That mean that they would have to allocate someone to do the welcoming ,presentations,final words etc. They managed to plan for the week and we stood back in amazement as they were running the workshop. We could not believe that this was the same group from the previous week that was so nervous. They were so confident and took lots of pride in their respective roles.Their week long training was a great success  and already they have dates for their next session of training. Within a couple of weeks so many people have been empowered and many more will be as the group continues their training sessions with the community.

What amazing progress this is for Iringa Living Lab. We are looking forward to see the great things that will come from this Living Lab who has now given hope to so many. Keep up the good work everyone.

ONE WEEK OF SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING TRANSFORMS PARTICIPANT’S BUSINESS!

This is an amazing post and success story from one of the participants that attended the workshop hosted by Iringa Living Lab.This post was written by Yusuf one of the champions in Iringa. Source of post: Iringa Living Lab blog.

Wilbert is one of the beneficiaries of a one week social media training that has ended today at Tumaini University College Iringa, organized by the Iringa Living Lab. And what a week it has been for everybody but more so Wilbert who couldn’t hide his excitement.

Wilbert at computer

His story goes as follows. A first born in a family of seventeen, Wilbert lost his father in 2010. As a result, he could not continue with studies after form four, because his mother didn’t have enough money to take him to high school. He is self-employed selling SIM Cards as a mobile agent for TIGO, a mobile telephone operator. TIGO is currently promoting internet services in the country and have tasked their mobile agents to convince as many customers as possible to use TIGO internet on their phones. The problem for Wilbert though has been his inability to use internet, let alone understand what internet is all about.

So, the social media training by Iringa Living Lab came as a big opportunity for him. After just one week, Wilbert has been introduced to basics of social media and gained confidence in the use of email, face book and blogging.

Opportunity knocks once, so goes the saying! After realizing that social media is after all for everyone, Wilbert straight away went back to his business and confidently started persuading his customers to join TIGO internet. This time they responded. In one week, he has managed to convince 48 (yes, forty eight) customers to join TIGO internet, thanks to Wilbert’s newly acquired social media skills and entrepreneurial abilities. And his efforts have not gone unrewarded. He has received his commission from TIGO for connecting so many customers in such a short time.

Wilbert’s story confirms what Iringa Living lab stands for; that new technology can be adopted by all human beings irrespective of social status and it can make a huge difference in their lives. As Iringa Living Lab, we remain committed to produce many more Wilberts and through the efforts and creativity of every one of us, we believe we can make a difference in the lives of others, without waiting for government. It is possible!

ICT transferal on a grassroots level- Kigamboni Living Lab

What does one do when you about to do a Social Media workshop and you realize that you only have 3 laptops and 11 participants? Well you improvise  and you don’t let THAT be a stumbling block for your training session. This happened to me at Kigomboni Community Centre recently. I had to think of a improvise quickly without  letting the participants notice that there was a crises at hand.

I took 3 of the participants and had them seated in front of the laptops.The others i had standing at the back observing what I was about to teach the 3 at the laptops. I then went on to explain that after I have showed the first 3 what to do , that they then had to show the next 3 what they have learned and what to do. I was taking a gamble by doing this and did not know what to expect .

I was amazed at the outcome as in this way they were learning so much faster. I mad a short video of the some of the first 3 guys explaining to the next 3 guys what they should do and what processes to follow.

This was the end result:

 

 

RLabs and TanzICT visits Kigamboni Community Centre

Jukka and me with some if the little ones

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Kigamboni Community Centre to go and see the great work that  they are doing there.TanzICT and RLabs are seeing how they  can assist this organisation by  providing training to some of the core team members.Also TanzICT is looking at providing data and data modems to make this training possible.

 

Aim:

The aim of the training is to transform this community through innovation and by providing citizens opportunities to be part of a social and economic transformation.To make use of the train the trainer approach and provide new local champions for the community.

Training:

The training will have a strong social and new media component (Google,Google Docs, Gmail , Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  where these tools are used in the form of digital story telling.

It will be also be used as a breeding ground for new champions from the community to be birthed.

Will also provide the participants with innovative ways in its “undisciplined” training method using a “Play & Learn” approach.

Kristiina Lahde (TanzICT) discussing the way forward with Richard Gorvett

Kigamboni Community Centre currently has a small computer lab with 3 operating desktop computers. This however will not stop us from going in to do the training with them. There is so much that the management of this wonderful organisation wants to do but resources seems to be a bit of a challenge at this point.

If there is anyway that you or your organisation can assist with laptops,pc’s or in any other way then please contact the centre. (info@kccdar.com )

 

“Another Journey” – A blog post by Gary Saaiman

This is a post written by my dear brother Gary Saaiman .I am amazed at how he has written this story and the revelation he got just by seeing us from behind.So encouraging.Go ahead and read for yourself….

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Its Saturday at about 6:30 am and I’m woken by the sound of Brent and Bradley  talking as they walk through my room making their way to the airport. I`m so tired as I couldn’t even keep my eyes open and I wanted to shout and greet them but they moved so fast and the only thing I could see was their backs for a couple of seconds.

Well to you it might have been just a normal sight but It was something supernatural to me. A couple of years back the same scene would had a different outcome. They would probably be planning where their next fix was going to come from something, illegal that would have been no benefit to our community, it definitely would not have had a good effect.

This was a different sight though, same picture but different journey. They were on their way to the airport this time going to Nigeria to set up a Rlabs hub. Rlabs Nigeria will be a difference that people have been crying out for, for years. Its a movement of hope where communities are reconstructed using technology. No matter how devstated the lives of people are, how hopeless they may seem, how depressed they might feel.

You asked these two gentlemen their life stories and you weigh what they are now and I promise you a joy, a hope, an excitement will be birthed inside of you fuelling your dreams, encouraging you to allow GOD to carry you through your fires and then polishing you to go and shine for HIM, in your home to your family, in your street, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your city, country or even the world.

  It really doesn’t matter where you go, taking hope to the hopeless is all that matters.

That was the glimpse I got in 5 seconds, imagine I had more time :-)

For more stories of hope go to www.Rlabs.org

Reconstructing the world one community at a time

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