Bienvenue à Dakar

Senegal Summer 2013 Blog

Written by: Daphne Basangwa

July 2, 2013


Welcome to the beautiful city of Dakar! The culture here is lively, colorful and warm and the sites - the coastal architecture, the colorful Boubous, and the busy public transport buses - are lovely. To get to the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) where we hold our sessions, we usually use la Route de la Corniche Ouest which, being right off the coast, affords a very beautiful view of the ocean.

Because of visa issues and a crazy itinerary (I shall not mention exactly how crazy, but suffice it to say that I went through a total of six international airports on my way here from Kampala, and I arrived several hours late), I missed the first day of the program. So I missed the introductions and the presentation of the syllabus, but it has been fun catching up, and meeting the students has been lovely.

On the Technical side, Victoria and I did a brief two-day recap of Java with the students, with a participatory lab for each of the days. For Wednesday (day three of lectures and day two of the Java recap), Victoria put together a wonderful World of Warcraft based lab which really engaged the students and myself. She created the game and wrote out its basic structure, and the assignment was for the students to finish it such that it worked, and to add any interesting features.

Filou - One of the characters of the game


On Thursday and Friday we had talks on entreprenuership from David Ly and Jean Hamon (both mobile entrepreneurs) respectively.

Eric with Jean Hamon

Eric with Jean Hamon 


The students organized themselves in teams of about four to begin work on their entrepreneurial android-based mobile applications. Each team turned in a project proposition describing a problem, proposing a possible mobile-based solution, creating a business model, specifying their desired market and identifying potential competitors; and we did a one-on-one session with each of the teams to discuss their project on Friday. It was an interesting exercise: we received a lot of great ideas from a vehicle-sharing system to an application for language-learning.

Team 5 discussing their idea


Eric and Victoria reviewing one of the Team's ideas. No one knows what was so funny.


In the afternoon, Victoria gave a lecture on user interface design after which I gave a brief “Hello, World” type presentation for Android. A few of the students had already tried building an android user interface but everyone caught on very fast.

Today is Sunday and we have a lot to prepare for next week. Victoria has decided that she will prepare a whole week's worth of slides today for the entire week instead of doing the usual all-nighter style preparations we’ve done for each lecture thus far. ;-) So off I go to work.