I always had a passion for reading: Reading anything that I could lay my hands on right from my childhood. I loved reading fiction and thrilling works. I loved reading science and perhaps that is why I ended up studying engineering in College. I studied something called Geomatics Engineering and Geospatial Information Systems. It is a fusion of geography, mathematics and information systems. Its a field that helps us to collect,study, visualise (map), analyse location based phenomena. One interesting statistic that was quoted over and over to us was the fact that over 80% of data in earth is location based! So yes, we are everywhere 🙂
One thing I participated in was be among the early contributors to the Google Map Maker program. Google Map Maker is/was a toll used to map businesses and roads (vector) on top of available Google satellite imagery. How do I put it; Google Satellite imagery takes pictures of places all over the world, but they have no way of knowing this is a shop; it’s name, owner contacts, what goods/services they sell etc, and this is a road (and its name, properties such as dual or single way) . This is called vectorisation (see me flossing) as it involve adding vector data to image(raster data). Thats what and how Goole Maps came to be. I volunteered to map Nairobi/Kenya like crazy. For this, I got a few trips to Google Nairobi Office where we had the best snacks and food I had ever had. I later on even wrote a book about it. See it here;https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/instant-google-map-maker-starter-instant or here https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Google-Map-Maker-Starter/dp/1849695288
I tried my hand in blogging. (http://kenyacampus.blogspot.co.ke/ ). I wrote some my thoughts and had fun attempting to be a writer. But I had such bad gramma and typo issues that each time I look at those blogs, I am deeply embarrassed that is the work of my hand. My attempts to make some $$ from my blogging did not pan out because of my bad gramma and luck of focus. I would later on watch with my own eyes as blogs became business , blogging things that I used to, but doing it better and making $$ about it. Ooh well, I lost my chance. But, I earned a few trips and opportunity to meet some people here as well. Meeting amazing people at the then WordCap Kenya, a conference that was held each year for bloggers and content creators in Kenya. Hail Cray Fish, Naivasha and Maanzoni Lodge, Machakos .
Then I developed a new passion while in university. Passion for Tech/IT. It started with sharing and contributing to Wikipedia and other Open Source projects and programs. This is whether my passion and aknowldge in IT was built and shaped. As a result of my engagement and contribution, I helped co-found the 2nd Wikimedia Chapter in Kenya. I met amazing people who had passion for sharing and impact society through knowledge and technology. I has found a new home. I participated and contributed to major projects with some major (looked so then) funding. I criss-crossed the country teaching, evangelizing and spreading the word on Wikipedia. I was fortunate enough to travel the world while at it. Infact, I got my 1st international travel as a result of this. Germany. USA. Hong Kong. Botswana. I met very amazing people that further impacted me to a great deal. But Wikimedia Kenya sadly died a painful and sad death after 4 years! That is a story for another day.
Then I joined/volunteered One Laptop per Child straight after College. I had to turn down 3 job offers in my first 3 months of finishing college to pursue this voluntary course. To be fair, I already knew after doing 3 attachments that I was not going to practice the field work part of what I studied. This was doing Land and Engineering Surveying, which were all the offers I got anyway. So I turned them down. With a few coin saved to tide me through voluntary work for next 3 months, i embarked on the OLPC XO Laptop project in Kenya.
The XO Laptops is/was a course of enabling learning through the use of XO laptops. This are hard core kids laptops made by OLPC that have child friendly programs and games that stimulate and enable interactive learning. I went around the country deploying this laptop to kids in primary schools , training teachers and setting up sites and schools to use the laptops. I was fortunate to meet someone who found me useful in all this and I was able to put my skills and passion to use. We tried to sell the GoK to his project. Heck I even met with the Director of KICD (then KIE) and the Assistant Minister for Education. Yes I was at the Board Room,delivering my proposal, findings , learnings and seeking to partner with the mighty GoK on this major project. I even had a photo opportunity I blogged about see: https://oslimoke.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/with-hon-calistus-mwatella-and-kie-folks/ …. As Elections would have it in 2013, a new era started and this was all lost. But the experience, networks, friends and lessons I had learnt would never be taken away.
As fate would have it, I had been building my career path al long without my knowledge through all this voluntary gigs. I had discovered my passion as well without even struggling and knowing. I would end up getting a job on my 4th Month after finishing college at Google. And the sweet deal was, I was working in the Education Program/Team. I would continue to work with educational institutions to deploy this time software and cloud solutions in the classroom for the next 1 year. I had the most amazing experience working at Google. I met very smart and amazing people . My aknowldge of Tech and involved grew exponentially. I was able to make a huge impact and reach to a very large mass not only in Kenya, but East Africa as well. (See me at Mekerere University Business School:
I left Google after 1 year and went to Somalia to work on a short term gig as a GIS Project Manager. The $$ was sweet and so was the experience. But it wasn’t my passion. After 4 months, I came back home and set up my company, Pawa IT solutions. The company deals with deploying EdTach solutions, developing custom software and basically anything that helps improve processes in learning institutions. You can see for yourself the kind os software solutions we have developed: We have worked with over 100 academic institutions in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania,Rwanda, and Zambia.
Oohh, I went back to school to pursue an MSc. in information Systems Management. I am on a short break before I begin my dissertation thesis. But we can all be sure what It would be in. Cant wait to finish and get started with perhaps a PhD? Want to see some “dark side of me”? Let me make it easier for you:
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oslimoke/
- Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Limoke-Oscar
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/oslimoke