Final Day 111/ 27062012

Just beginning of BEAM project  <The end of 1st period>

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

The first session of BEAM project was done. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and the project. I believe if the project finish as a 4 months project, it is not a sustainable project. If the project stop here, I would feel guilty as a student of sustainable design. It should be keep going to the end. Unfortunately there in no end to the goal. Now I am thinking the project is just started to the bigger challenge. One designer is a small existence but he or she can change some thing even small, if not, at least the designer can be changed. The first selling profit from the first customers of Jerrybag was donated to Child Fund at the water problem solving division. It was not big money actually very small but I hope to support in the future more and more with ethical consumers all over the world.

Good bye Kampala for a while

Thank you so much all of my friends in Korea, Finland and Uganda.

From Designer Jy Park

Day 110/ 26062012

Good bye Kampala 2

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.


Generally this time is rainy season, rainy season is not meaning of raining all day long. Just once or twice a day in an hour, rain comes and then sunshine again. Till the month almost every night rain came so harshly but from this month there was less chance to rain in the city. Today rain came so harsh in the afternoon. I felt greeting the rain even though the electricity was gone because of short time heavy rain. Tomorrow morning at 9, my flight would fly over Uganda, this time I would be flying another sky. This rain made me a bit sensitive about leaving Kampala. Thanks to everyone and everything for my research. It was hard to say that it was easy but it was so meaningful time in my life ever. I learned so many things from this experience for last 4 months in Uganda. While I am studying in Finland almost one and half a year, I thought that the country might be the best place to design. Now I am thinking a bit different way. Nothing is impossible. All around us can be designer’s playground. And I recommend these kinds of unusual experience to my designer friends all over the world. If I could do this, the other would be better than my works in Africa. Hey, Come to the jungle my friends, there are so many things are waiting for you and your creativeness.

I could not  feel any sensitive, when the rain came. This picture makes me a bit calm down. I want to save water from me because water is the basic element for life and the theme is the aim of BEAM project.

I could not sure of how much jerrycan help solving water problem to the world. Whenever I see this boy, this kid in the picture seems to keep saying I can and beam project can do it.

Day 109/ 25062012

Good bye Kampala 1

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.


All schedules of Beam project 2012 in Kampala were finished. It is hard to say that I am satisfying 100% of whole process which I have been through. Maybe I can say 70% of my plan was done. And the rest of the 30% would be left for the future. I could not say good bye to all my friends because I did not think that it was an end of the project. I believe that it just started till now. Anyway I had to sort of this first period of beam project. That’s why this morning I went to Nakasero market. Luckily I could meet Anna Clare at the market. I could not believe that the moment was the last moment at Nakasero market. I felt like that I would be there tomorrow again like usual by taking a matatu from Kira. After saying good bye to my friends at the market, I headed to waterloo student hotel to clean up my rest of stuff there. I could remember the first of day at the hostel. There was nothing at the beginning and in the end there was nothing again. I would not able to hear crazy local church worship anymore but I would miss the pastor’s voice from my memories there. I felt like my last 4 months in Uganda as a dream. Time passed by so fast. Many things happened from my plans and by accident during last 4 months. How could I forget these memories, some were nightmare, some were so sweet to wake up. Hopefully when I wake up from this dream, I would be a grown-up and my design as well.

Luckily I could meet Anna again in the market. I wished that I get another chance to be there again with them. Bye my friends for a while.

When I came at the waterloo hostel, there was nothing in the room. But I liked big window and balcony at the room. I filled with my stuff one by one, day by day. Products are showing the person’s identify. Even though architect could build a space, they could not represent the identity of the person who lives in the room. Designers are people who give the identity of the space I thought like that at the empty room again.

Day 108/ 24062012

Test selling

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

All jerrybag samples were ready to meet first customers. It took exactly 3days to finish all samples. As I told before at other diary, there were chosen 7 customers internationally. I could not contact with one person from Japan. So I replaced another person with Korean girl. I sent a message to all my first customers about time and place to meet. In the e-mail I wrote that I would go a cafeteria this evening with jerrybags and I hoped to interview with them there about their opinion of Bags, African design, culture and business to them as one part of my research. When I was the cafeteria, It was before 5 o’clock but one person was already there. Her name was Jung-min yoon from South Korea. She worked as a volunteer worker for NGO from last year. She took around 30 mins to choose one jerrybag from 7 samples. I watched her what bag she would choose. She liked green color with green pattern. I asked why she wanted to buy the jerrybag and what did she think about African culture and people as a NGO worker. Unfortunately we couldn’t talk much with her because next customer were waiting me. Anna asked for making a jerrybag with her pattern which she designed before. When Anna saw the bag, she looked so happy with the bag thankfully. She is a fashion designer starting her design studio from the last year in Kampala. She commented about finishing the bag especially inside. Finishing inside should be improved more she said. And the cost of material and labor which I paid in the market were a bit higher than normal but not much. She said that she also had a hard time of cost of material and labor at the beginning of her studio last year because she could not speak Luganda perfectly. Some of merchants tried to cheat her at dealing with material and labor. We talked about how to improve African culture with design. She was emphasizing on fair trade and branding of Africans design. The next person was Gloria, local designer but international business in Uganda. She mentioned about international scale of African business. It is not easy but it is possible to start with. And the jerrybag is very unique item even to European customers she thought like that. Especially, she liked the African pattern on the bags. The strong African pattern should be improving the identity of bags in the market but normally European people like simple color matching products. So if I want to sell the bags in European market, simple and basic color variation should be strong at the business with the jerrybags. Today I could not meet all my customers at the cafeteria. Antoine was the last customers today. We met another place not the same cafeteria. He started to work for telephone company in Kampala for two month. He is from France. Actually I got the first email from him of wanting to buy some jerrybags, when I visited Rwanda last week. Then I decided to test selling to people. Interestingly he remembered all my products on my website even the name of quite long time works. I never met such person who remembers all my previous works in detail. He was interested at fashion stuff  like usual French guys. He thought that in European market it should be good. Of course, it is hard to believe his opinion of jerrybag because he already know about jerrycan and African culture but not deeply. Anyway for me I was so happy to hear promising comments of the bags. In the end I mentioned about 5%of profit would go back for community for solving water problem in Africa. So I appreciated to like jerrybag and to help supporting of improving water systems in Uganda.

Jung min yoon from South Korea. She is volunteer worker for NGO for one year in Ugadna. She choose light green color with green pattern and green color match. She chose the color because it looked cute and bright color matching. She thinks that East Africa is a kind of promising country to work for, of course it is not easy but it is meaningful work probably.


Anna Clare, fashion designer in Uganda. Her recent fashion show was cooperated with Eco material concerning NGO which is working from local bio material 100% cotton from Gulu with fair trade. She wants to cooperating with BEAM project somehow. She just started her business from the last year. She studied in Japan for 8 years. Still Ugandan infra structure for fashion design is so poor. So many cheap and low quality products were imported in a massive way from other countries to East Africa. It is so sad that there were no options for Ugandan people economically and culturally, because there were few manufacturing structure in Uganda so far. She liked the concept of jerrybag which would support local community in the end she mentioned.

Gloria, she also a fashion designer in Kampala. She has worked for 4 years as local fashion designer. Her business of fashion design is international scale with European country. She studied fashion in UK so that she used to European market she said that. She also mentioned about finishing the jerrybag. If the quality is a bit improved more, it would be possible to sell in the bigger market she commented like that.

Marine was a photographer in Uganda. Actually we met on the street by accident then he asked me where I got jerrybag. I said I designed the bag in Nakaero market. After that he introduced me local fashion designer Gloria. Unfortunately he was in Rwanda in this week so I could not meet him in the cafeteria.

Antoine from French. I was so astonished about his comments of my previous works. He said that he would introduce my works to other French designers to whom he have been known. Frankly speaking I do not believe in his saying because it’s never happening in the end from my experience. But it was nice compliments from him.

She was my last customer today. Her name is Eung jung An from South Korea. She is working for Child fund. She helped many thing about connecting Beam project and water division in Child fund. Some people might say that my all first customers are my friends. Yes they are my friends. However I could not sell to all my friends to whom kept asking me selling jerrybags. I chose the first customers of jerrybags for some reasons different nationality, occupations, sexes and so on.

Day 107/ 23062012

Life cycle of the product 

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

Jerrycan is used for the purpose of carrying and keeping water at first. Kids and ladies are main users of jerrycans. Normally one 20 littre jerrycan was used twice a day. So in total 40 litters are moved from water supply to their home. The distances from water supply to home are many different but average 3km returning 6km once. One people use one jerrycan around 6 months but before 6 months, the jerrycan might get holes and broken. Then some parts of jerrycan would be separated from the whole part. So some one lets join upside and down side together. The function of jerrycan would be changed depending on what they want to do with the rest of part of jerrycan. In the end the part of jerrycan can be changed the function as toys for kids.

Front part was taken off for some reason. This part is used normally for cleaning cloth.

Half of 5litter of jerrycan is used for a flower pot.

This use was so creative way. A top of 2o liter jerrycan used for  Door handle.

Jerrycan rider for kids. In the end, jerrycan’s last users are kids.

Toys made from recycling material. This plastic and package of Juice were a quite strong material easily get from their everyday life.

Day 106/ 22062012

Water is primary element for life.

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

I have lived and loved my job, designer. I am thinking and introducing me as a product designer since I started to study design. Who is a designer? What  do a product designer design? Last more than three months I walked around and took local taxis so many time in Kampala. Even now I can draw a Kampala city map, Central market map, and local taxi routes around Kampala city. I hate walking around but I have to do, because I like meeting unexpected moments while I walking around. I believe that is designer’s job and l love my job as much as I can. For this reason I could not stop walking in Uganda. This morning I walked around my friend’s apartment in Kira. On the way to walk around, I met many kids who were carrying water from somewhere to home. They shook their hands to me with big smiles. Their smiles looked like twinkling stars in the dark sky. I felt guilt and sorry about carrying heavy water on their hands, shoulders and heads. It was not their faults it is my faults and our faults to them. Making one borehole nearby them can not solve their heavy everyday jobs. Systems, water systems have to be changed. Twinkling smiles kept saying to me like that. I don’t like being sensitive but I was a bit this morning.

I met the girl on the road. I passed by many little girls like her. What I really have to do for her, it would be so many girls like her in the world.

There are two small water suppliers for local people. One is borehole with an air pumping system and the other one is a spring water like this picture. Spring water is not stopping water flowing. In some area, this spring water might be more cheaper then borehole. So NGOs are making cheaper and effective water suppliers to the village. However even though NGO and government make many water supply systems like this picture. The kids’ job of carrying water might not be stopped at all.

The girl stopped and took a rest on the way of carrying water because of me. She stopped in front of me because she wanted to see me in close.

Around water supply, there are normally many kids and ladies for water. So I believe that the around water supply can be a nice place to do something for kids, like as recycling amusement park for kids from Bruno who is a local artists.

Day 105/21062012

Jerrybag series 

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

Till this morning, I made the last samples for test selling to my customers. I could make 8 samples with Joshep. He worked yesterday till 10pm till the gate was shout down. Then I could start connecting jerrycans and the bags which Joshep was done. When I finished the work, I was so tired but I could feel so fresh from all my stresses of on time. I didn’t want to lose my credibility from my first customers. Each sample looked my my sons and daughters so lovely and precious to me. If  those bags were not good use for them, I would be sad about the mis-using and abusing them. Today I tried to contact with Child fund water division through e-mail. They explained about their water supporting systems for kids. They said the money from the first selling might to enough to build one borehole. Instead the money can be supported for fixing broken borehole and broken taps at the schools. It was good news, so that the money can be returned back to the community from the jerrybags.

These are jerrybag series for the first selling to my first customers.

This is new pattern jerrybag. I wanted to make a bit bright bags. That’s why chose yellowish background and green pattern.

These bags to me looks so lovely even the quality is not perfect to satisfy all customers.

Day 104/ 20062012

Last samples

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

When I came back from Kiboga to Kampala, I started to move to make final sample for try selling. I decided to 7 customers at test customers in total. This test selling will be last part of researching this time. I choose three local people two ladies and one men. Anna (F/ local fashion designer), Gloria(F/ international fashion designer), Martin (M / local photographer). Two are European. Antoine (M / international worker from France), Irena (F/ NGO volunteer from Finland). Two are Asians. Masaki (M/ vocational school teacher from Japan), Jung min (F / volunteer worker from South Korea) I will try to sell the samples to the first customers in this weekend. The main reason of test selling is for interviewing with them for scaling up the bags and also to make a close loop in a system. It means in the end some money, official 5% of profit, from test selling will be donated for improving water systems in Uganda. I am thinking of donating the money through child fund at a water division. I bought new pattern from Congo, PVC fake leather from China, buckles from Kenya, YKK color Zippers and jerrycans made in Uganda  for the last samples. Joshep in Nakasero market made the bags this time not Sarah who worked for Makerere women’s institution because if I asked Sarah, she would take longer time to improve the quality unlike Joshep in the market. Joshep helped me from this morning till the deep night. It took around 7 hours to make hole bags not connecting  jerrycan and bags from me. I tried to improve the quality compared to last sample because this sample would be the last samples in this time in Uganda. And the outputs were quite improved. I satisfied this time samples from Joshep but it was not meaning of perfection. Now I need time to connect the bags with jerrycans. It also takes a long time to finish attaching all things together.

I wanted computer logo but there was no computer logo shops there. The job was done by a sewing machine.

This pattern is new one imported from Congo for the bags. It was not from Uganda. Unfortunately Uganda pattern in the market was no good to make the jerrybags. Also I could not find any good local artist art works by the time.

This is a picture of covering inside with the pattern I bought in the market. You can see one division and one pocket inside the bag. Actually these functions were added from my friends advice.

Joshep is a professional sewing machine worker at the market. He is always OK so that  I got a credibility of him. However the price was a bit expensive than other workers but he was so improved compared very first jerrybag samples.

Day 103/ 19062012

Upcountry Kiboga

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

Kiboga is 127 km far away from Kampala city northern west. Main industries are farming and living stock farming. I visited  a kinder garden and a primary school this morning 7km far away from the town. The kinder garden was full of kids from the morning. Unfortunately this morning in the school, there was no teacher for them for some reason. If the teacher is not at the school, the kids have to wait him or her all day long without doing anything. Me and my friend who was previous teacher at the school played with the kids instead of the teacher this morning. They were so lively, difficulty and bad like usual kids in any places. I just felt annoying about putting there hands into my pockets in continuous not because stealing but because there was nothing to steal in my pockets. At the school, kids were laughing and fighting like usual. However on the road, when I saw the kids who were carrying water on their heads and hands. They did not smile and I could not smile at them. Just keep watching car passing by beside them and me. It was so insecure to kids passing by. When me and my friend went into the elementary school calling Massode supported by Child fun, they were so busy with preparing tomorrow African children festival. Some kids were practicing at sing at local songs. Some students were dancing for the events. The school was so lovely with happy songs by children. Then me and my friend looked into a borehole near the school. The borehole is water supply system from pumping water from ground water. Normally government and NGOs drill borehole near villages in the countryside but pumping systems are easily broken and not fixing after broken. The borehole was around 700m far away from the school. Luckily the distance was not far but it was on the very next the road. So many big and small cars were passing by the road at full speed. It looked so dangerous not only to kids even to adults. Kids are collecting water from these kinds of water supplies near home or schools. They are carrying water with hands or on their heads. Can you image that 10L water is a bit ok, but 20 L  even both sides are not easy, but carrying water is their job at home. Water is not lack in the area. Systems and poor products are the main problem. Who can solve this problem? NGO? Government? designers? engineers? All can be, but efficiently and effectively.

I did not go Kiboga town with something special. The town is typical town like usual. It was very normal luckily my friend who worked for the child fun at the town, so that she took me there and introduced me the town and the school.

They were playing local drum for the tomorrow African children festival in the town.

I didn’t think that they loved jerrybag. They just wanted to play with me and take pictures by a camera. What is different? They are not sad, they are not poor. Just they are the same kids which I have met in Korea and Finland. Let’s do not judge them with our prejudices. Only  basic systems for kids are very uncomfortable to use. We can solve the problem and have to.

At the school, interestingly there was a design and art class. They drew their ideal village and decorated their village with color papers in the class. Some kids showed off their design skill to me.

When I was a kid like them, Did I love taking a pictures? what did I like doing and playing at the ages? I don’t remember the time. Of course I could not be a adult from a birth.

Water facility at the school is not sustainable to maintain. Usually easily broken and empty. And inside the bottle was hard to clean off perfectly.

She is carrying 10 litter jerrycan with water. She folded left arm to keep the balance to walk well. Why are you smiling at to me? Don’t feel any burden? She took carrying water as her job I thought so. It was a bit sad from her smile.

Water supply called a borehole near the school. The area was kid’s playground. From my opinion, to make the area good to play for kids like Bruno’s concept which is making an amusement park for kids. This concept might be built around water supply. I think that it should be helpful to improve their sanitation with water.

Hey, why are you wearing such teared cloth? if NGO see you, they should think you are so poor and sad. It is a typical picture which western people and NGO want to take.

This is a jerrybag poster made from Kiboga. The main theme is ” we can, will and should.”

Day 102 / 18062012

NGO (non governmental organization)

** This diary was uploaded in Finland.

There are many NGOs are working in Africa. Mostly the organizations are for Development, Environment and Human Rights based on charity reasons. Last year I worked at the a bit big NGO organization by this spring for water problem project. It is true that the NGOs have been doing many great works for developing countries. However the NGO project also have negative sides neither. I am not an expert of such NGO project so that I could not say their activities critically. I just want to say something from my experience and some interviews with whom people are working for NGO now in Africa. NGO is also community. It means to keep the company stay longer, they need sub-organizations, systems and funding. To get the funding, they need advertisement for their donators. The company is doing business with a kind of charity business. And the big NGO is a like a conglomerate like Mc donald or Cokacola. Some NGOs are so bureaucracy in their systems. Sometimes, no many times I felt like that the project would rather do for their organizations than solve urgent the local problems by spending a lot of donators’ money. They are hiring local people with local labor price a bit low cost comparing the NGO workers. I heard that the Gulu district, which is 5 hours far away from Kampala city, is full of many NGO works. Someone calls the area as a Disneyland to NGOs. Anyways there are many local people are living less than 1$ a day. It is a right area which many charity customers really want to give their money to. Now the cost of living in Gulu are going high because of many NGO worker in the area. I think big organizations have their own processes, but they could not cover everything in their systems. That’s why small scale works like me need to do something in the area which can not be covered from big giant groups. Today I visited Kiboga which is a upcountry 2 hours far away from Kampala. I want to see the elementary school which is supported huge NGO named Child fun based on USA. They are supporting many area, education, hygiene, water and so on for kids all over the world. Especially, I wanted to look into water systems in countryside.

Kiboga is quite small town which is mainly mainly farming. The town is located 2 hours northern west by car. Kiboga is so peaceful, it would be said there was nothing.

There are many water supplies donated by Japan government from old time ago.Still many Japanese are working in NGO program like JAIKA based on governmental funding.

Over 90% of jerrycan is yellow color. I do not know the reason exactly why there are using yellow color jerrycan mostly. Probably I guess that is so distinct to see. The waster supply is made by Japan organization. It is supplying water periodically in a day.

They are volunteer workers for child fun in the town. They are teaching children at the primary school. Right girl is Enhea who is teaching art class at the school. Left side lady is volunteer worker, as well. They are so nice with local people. Local people seems to like them so much not because of foreigners but because of friends.