The zazudesign – die Schwarzwald Werbeagentur in Berlin film team is back in Germany with a hard drive full of data. Thank you to everyone who participated and supported us to do our work!
As we know from the quantum mechanics is the influence from an observer on the observed subject growing with the intensity of the observation (more here: https://idw-online.de/de/news391). Filming without disturbing is therefore a very sensitive process and I hope we didn’t disturb too much and everyone will be happy to have left some traces for future scientists who will research how African Excellence made his steps to a strong scientific organisation.
During preparation and the filming I have to deal with a lot of organisational demands on the countries legal level, as well as structures directly around the Centre. Therefor I made some observations that I would like to share:
- With some Centres I had difficulties to find the physical location of the Centre on the campus and where in town the campus is located (different branches). That means it is also hard for interested students to find the real location. A map or a little graphic of the campus could help here a lot.
- A direct phone number to call, an email address, opening hours and a contact persons name would also make it more easy to get into touch with the Centre.
- Many scientists still use free email services like “gmail” or “yahoo”. Since we all know that these services are paid by analysing and selling your data and content of your mails, it would be preferable that there is a email@example.com address for the Centers representatives.
My impressions of Kenya:
Kenya is getting more and more advanced. As a film crew we face some special procedures entering a country. In the first place we have to go through customs with a lot of electronic equipment and in the second place we need working and filming permits. Both has to be handled in Kenya by a Kenyan film company. This means it is decoupled from corruption and a regular process. Applications for a normal visa are handled online and processed in a few-hour, this is an amazing development for an African country. Entering a national park needs also an entrance fee (54 USD per person per day) that can only be paid by credit card – no more cash/corruption in this area too.
The only still existing problem are the police road blocks. Self-driving mzungu (white man) seem not to be so common in Kenya, so we had always been the one getting stopped. On our first roadblock, coming from Mombasa, we had been accompanied by an Kenyan driver from the university who finally solved the police issue with a “gift” of 500 KSE. Before that they had been desperately searching for something that could be wrong with our rental car, to get a reason for a fine. The police women at the road block before Voi asked straight forward what we can give to them. We solved the situation by offering a pack of biscuits. From that day onwards every filling up with petrol in Voi implicated bringing the police women at the road block some biscuits. That was ok with us and gave us even a nice chat every time we passed.
Summing it up:
Kenya is developing, but every step you do demands a decent amount of money for permits, entrance fees and expensive car rental prices (almost 6.000 USD in total for our short trip).
An impression from an outside observer about the Centres:
The idea of Prof. Jan Bongaerts, to put expertise together, so that the sum of all parts is more than the individual outcome, for me was a good idea for further development:
To invite the law specialists from Dar es Salaam to teach about mining law in the EAC, to cooperate with the Centre for Microfinance in Congo in the field of artisanal (small) mining and involving Namibians Centre logistic knowledge in teaching how a future mining adviser for an African government should incorporate logistics in his expertise.
One more thought:
By all enthusiasm for application-orientated knowledge, we still need people who make innovations and they must be educated and allowed to think beside the tracks.
And in the end it was a pleasure to see you all again!
Author: Thomas Hezel