Category Archives: News & Reviews

TechWomen Impact Coach again – for Lebanon!

Sukaina Al Nasrawi, Katy Dickinson, Maison Ibrahim, Adla Chatila in Beirut Lebanon 2013

I am so glad to have been accepted as a TechWomen Impact Coach again – and to be working with the same great mentor team as last year! TechWomen is a mentoring program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  I was the 2010-2011 Process Architect for TechWomen and have been proud to support the program as a professional volunteer each year since then.

Mercedes Soria (Vice President, Software Engineering, Knightscope), Fatema Kothari (Technical Project Manager, Verizon) and I had a delightful experience as 2016 Impact Coaches, working with TechWomen’s inspiring Team Tunisia. We are looking forward to meeting our new Emerging Leader team from Lebanon when they arrive in San Francisco in September.

I am proud of my daughter Jessica who has herself been accepted as a TechWomen Impact Coach this year – for TechWomen Emerging Leaders from Palestine. I have just been looking over pictures from when Jessica and I visited TechWomen mentees in Lebanon in 2013. I am excited to further expand my knowledge of the people and culture of this ancient and fascinating country.

Maison Ibrahim, Sukaina Al Nasrawi, Katy Dickinson in Beirut Lebanon 2013

Katy Dickinson and Jessica Dickinson Goodman in Beirut Lebanon 2013

Adla Chatila and Jessica Dickinson Goodman in Saida, Lebanon 2013

Adla Chatila, Katy Dickinson, Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Tyre, Lebanon 2013

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Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Fabric Arts and Crafts in Sierra Leone

Fabric shopping, Sierra Leone, July 2017

While visiting Sierra Leone in West Africa earlier this month, my daughter Jessica traveled with fellow TechWomen mentor, Terri Khonsari, and with Ibrahim Kalokoh and Joseph Ellie of Families Without Borders Tech Center (FWB). Some of our activities were arranged by Mrs. Thaimu (“Mrs. T”), an entrepreneur in Makeni who works with FWB.

In addition to giving presentations at FWB, the University of Makeni in Makeni, and at Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) in Freetown, we wanted to learn more about Sierra Leone. In particular, we wanted to purchase some of the elegant fabric and embroidery that we had seen Terri wearing in the Silicon Valley.

Our first day, Mrs. T brought us to her home to show us samples and discuss options for design.  Then, we went fabric shopping, followed by a trip to the tailor. Most of the fabric we purchased was cotton, often with local designs but mostly manufactured outside of the country.  One variegated brown cloth  was made locally from kola nuts. Our shirts, tunics, and dresses were completed in just a few days. We ended up fabric shopping several times during the whole trip: the vast design range and high quality of available materials are remarkable.  Jessica and I will be sewing with our new fabric for quite a while!

In addition to fabric, I purchased a batik panel at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary gift shop. It shows a woman in local costume against a map of Sierra Leone. I made it into a pillow for my office – to remember my first trip to West Africa.

Mrs. Thaimu, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Fabric shopping, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Embroiderer, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Tailor, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Embroiderer, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Kola nut fabric with embroidery, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Sierra Leone woman batik, July 2017

Sierra Leone woman batik, July 2017

Sierra Leone woman batik pillow and embroidered clothes, July 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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3 Baskets: from Apache, Rwanda, Sierra Leone

3 Baskets: from Apache, Rwanda, Sierra Leone

While visiting Sierra Leone in West Africa earlier this month, my daughter Jessica and I purchased some lovely baskets from a road side vendor between Makeni and Freetown. The basket I purchased is very tall but made it home safely, well packed by my laundry.  The new basket from Sierra Leone now lives in my dining room with two other favorite baskets:

Jessica and baskets in Sierra Leone, July 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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Truth on the Internet, Sierra Leone

Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone, July 2017, photo by Salwa Campbell

While Jessica and I visited Sierra Leone earlier this month, we gave presentations to Terri Khonsari‘s technical center Families Without Borders, and the University of Makeni in Makeni, and at Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) in Freetown – to about 300 students in all. We answered many questions but variations of one question came up most often everywhere we went: “How do you tell what is true on the Internet?”

Since we were presenting on web research, e-learning (also known as educational technology), and blogging, and since the topic of fake news has been much discussed worldwide during the last year, I suppose we should not have been surprised at the frequency of this question.  We answered it in a variety of ways, including many that have been widely discussed elsewhere. For example, Factcheck.org provides this list on “How to Spot Fake News”:

  1. Consider the source
  2. Read beyond the headline
  3. Check the author
  4. What’s the support?
  5. Check the date
  6. Is this some kind of joke?
  7. Check your biases
  8. Consult the experts

Two other ways we answered the question:

  1. During our Internet Treasure Hunt exercise at Families Without Borders in Makeni, we asked the 50+ students to find out what the CIA World Fact Book thought was the population of Sierra Leone, and then what Wikipedia said (since they do not agree). We then asked them to find an error on the Wikipedia page and discussed how these mistakes or differing opinions can happen.  We encouraged them to help by correcting the Wikipedia page and directed them to instructions on how to do so.
  2. At Fourah Bay College in Freetown, after asking about Finding Truth, a first year Engineer asked me why someone does not fix the Internet – make it always correct. I looked at the large and eager young audience and asked why someone does not fix them – make their own answers always correct. They laughed. I followed up by saying that the Internet was and continues to be created by people of many viewpoints who may want to deceive, or who may not know what is correct, or for whom there may be many versions of Truth.

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

University of Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson and Salwa Campbell

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Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews, Politics

Blogging and Girl Time in Sierra Leone

Jessica Dickinson Goodman and Katy Dickinson at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Jessica and presented on “Best Practices for Research, Online Learning & Blogging” and a variety of other technical and educational topics during our visit last week to Terri Khonsari‘s technical center Families Without Borders, in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

During the electronic Treasure Hunt (10 timed questions that the students had to answer by searching the web in teams of five) and during the first session on blogging, we noticed that the young men tended to take over, so we scheduled a special session just for the young women the following morning. The girls stayed for twice the time we had planned and had great fun!

We also worked with Terri to set up a special daily time during which the technical center computers are only available to girls, so that they could get more serious hands-on-keyboard experience.  So far, we have seen these five blogs come out of our sessions:

  1. MakeniGirls
  2. Salone Stories
  3. Modern Baibureh
  4. Flowers of Sierra Leone
  5. Tity in Sierra Leone

Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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Sierra Leone: Leader in Religious Tolerance

Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Jessica and I returned late Saturday from a short trip to Sierra Leone where we presented at Terri Khonsari‘s technical center Families Without Borders, and the University of Makeni in Makeni, and at Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) in Freetown – to about 300 students in all.

Sierra Leone is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in which I have ever traveled.  This West African country is particularly remarkable its its religious tolerance.  Although about 60% of the country is Muslim, we saw a wide array of religious institutions and practices coexisting in peace.  Jessica and I were particularly delighted with two small stores on either side of a shop where we bought bowls.  One store was called Christ In Me Enterprise and the other Allah is Great Enterprise.

Catholic Church in Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Church near Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Mosque in Sierra Leone July 2017

Mosque in Sierra Leone June 2017

Stylish Grandmas, Makeni Sierra Leone, June 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews, Politics

Visiting Central California Missions

Jessica, Laura, Cathie, Katy on Mission Trip June 2017

My daughter Jessica, friends Laura Biche, her sister Cathie Ferris, and I are continuing our quest to visit all of the California Missions. In 2015-2016, we visited seven Missions (listed north to south, with the order of establishment in parenthesis):

  1. Mission San Francisco Solano, (#21) in Sonoma 
  2. Mission San Rafael Arcángel, (#20) in San Rafael
  3. Mission San Francisco de Asís (“Mission Dolores”, #6), in San Francisco
  4. Mission Santa Clara de Asís, (#8) in Santa Clara
  5. San Juan Bautista, (#15) in San Juan Bautista
  6. Nuestra Senora de Soledad, (#13) in Soledad
  7. San Antonio de Padua, (#3) in Jolon

Last weekend starting from San Jose, we visited six more Missions, plus another visit to San Juan Bautista since we had dinner in town:

  1. Mission San Miguel Arcángel, (#16) in San Miguel
  2. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, (#5) in San Luis Obispo
  3. Mission La Purísima Concepción, (#11) near Lompoc
  4. Mission Santa Inés, (#19) in Solvang
  5. Mission Santa Barbara, (#10) in Santa Barbara
  6. Mission San Buenaventura, (#9) in Ventura

Since we were traveling on a Sunday, we attended services at Mission San Buenaventura.  Many of the missions are still in active use by the Catholic Church. A few are public museums. We have eight more Missions to visit, in two trips: one to Southern California and the other near where we live in Northern California:

Southern California

  1. Mission San Fernando Rey de España, (#17) in Mission Hills (Los Angeles)
  2. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, (#4) in San Gabriel
  3. Mission San Juan Capistrano, (#7) in San Juan Capistrano
  4. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, (#18) in Oceanside
  5. Mission San Diego de Alcalá, (#1) in San Diego

Northern California

  1. Mission Santa Cruz, (#12) in Santa Cruz
  2. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, (#2) in Carmel
  3. Mission San José, (#14) in Fremont

Pictures of Mission San Miguel Arcángel:

San Miguel Arcangel Mission June 2017

San Miguel Arcangel Mission June 2017

Pictures of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa:

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission June 2017
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission June 2017

Pictures of Mission La Purísima Concepción:

La Purisima Mission June 2017
La Purisima Mission June 2017

Pictures of Mission Santa Inés:

Santa Ines Mission June 2017
Santa Ines Mission June 2017

Pictures of Mission Santa Barbara:

Santa Barbara Mission June 2017
Santa Barbara Mission June 2017

Pictures of Mission San Buenaventura:

San Buenaventura Mission June 2017
San Buenaventura Mission June 2017

Mission San Juan Bautista:

San Juan Bautista Mission June 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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