Last night I was talking to Paul about my concerns and questions on OLPC - and after meeting him I was really impressed with his level of professionalism. I've been a little skeptical of the program as it progressed because of the short time period that we've had to put this together, and some communication mishaps, but after my conversation with Paul I really think that OLPCorps Africa has incredible potential. Not just potential, but real staying power. I don't know if anybody reading this knows anything about Paul Commons - in a nutshell he's the head honcho for OLPCorps Africa and came up with the idea with his friend and fellow coordinator Bryan Stuart @ Indiana University. Paul has deployed, on his own(i.e. without formal OLPC help), to Honduras, Sierra Leone and South Africa. His independent South Africa deployment has been kind of the model for the entire OLPCorps program. He just went ahead without formal recognition or help from OLPC and made a full scale deployment all on his own - proving that other teams could do the same. Paul and the other people that he's attracted to OLPCorps are exactly what I think that OLPC needs - educators and doers. I think that for too long OLPC has attracted the "web 2.0 techie" (of which I am admittedly one) but OLPC needs a variety of people on the other end of the spectrum, who might not be super tech-savvy. I think OLPC has wanted to attract that kind of people for a long time, but it has been hard because so much of the documentation about OLPC and the XO has been really tech-heavy. However, now that OLPCorps is in full swing, this problem will probably remedied.
Today was the first day of the conference - everyone introduced their team and we met everyone, it was great! I didn't take too many pictures but I'm sure that other teams will post theirs. Internet @ our sites isn't that great so I don't know when I can do a mass upload but I'll definitely link to other pics if I can. Tomorrow we meet all the cool important people - like the ministers and such - I'm excited!