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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sinethemba—We Have Hope

This is the start of a story. And we come in at the middle. Till now its been a story of belief, persistence and hope.

It began 5 years ago when Bill Ryerson of Population Media Center first spoke to me of collaborating to create a game that might be a powerful change agent. At the start the challenge seemed mountainous...but worth climbing towards. Three and a half years later, working with Greg Morgan, the proposal was first sent out to create a game to educate boys on the issues of gender inequality and violence against women. Jeff Rutenbeck and others worked towards its acceptance.

Now in the middle. It's been 6 weeks since the proposal was accepted by far-sighted Aminata Toure of the UNFPA. 5 weeks since intensive planning began with the Population Media Center staff—Bill, Kris Barker, and Scott Connelly. After three weeks of interviews, the Champlain College team was selected in Vermont: students Dan Bergeron, Heather Conover, Brian George, Bryan Hare , Casey Hopkins, Amanda Jones, Wesley Knee, Nichole Magoon, Lauren Nishikawa, Jaimie Olmstead, Alex Schwartz, Keith Tatarczuk, Robert Witbeck, Bill Wixon and Ashley Bessette; faculty advisors Megan Frenzen and Elaine Young; EMC staff Ray McCarthy-Bergeron and Sarah Jerger. Two weeks ago, Heather Kelley, a game designer from Montreal, moved to Vermont to join us as creative director. All have been hard at work posing intensive questions and research only to find more questions as answers.

In 2 days, we fly to South Africa, a beach head for a global discussion. Thank heavens for the work of Miguel Sabido upon which we will base our designs. Thank heavens also for the idea of collaboration, co-design, co-opetition, and of learning through creation.

Tonight in our story. We have been invited to visit a school in South Africa, Sinethemba, which translates to "We have hope." There we will work with the students and learn about their attitudes about games, technology, violence, and gender equality. What a wonderful welcome, what a wonderful omen. We have hope.

Follow our journey because the story created by games is old and the story about male-female relationships is older still. As we unearth the stories, to my voice in this blog, will be added all of our team.


Hope said...

You and your team have more hope than you know...

I am with you in heart and spirit. I so wish I could have joined you. Best to all your team. Travel safely and in peace.
[Wittman Martin]

Tommy Olmstead said...

By now, the team is in Cape Town. Your trip is a trip of hope and hope has no boundaries!

All my best to the team. I have no doubts about your success.

Joan said...


So glad you have this format to share your trip with us.

You and your team are always in my heart.


Anonymous said...

In all the trips I've taken to Africa, I keep coming back to the same observation: Never have I seen so much hope and so much despair in the same place - nor have I seen so many opportunities for advancement and positive change. You're now part of that - carry on and Godspeed!

Steve Shepard