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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Shining Light in the Darkness

Kevin Adomayakpor stood beside me as I painted at mHealth 2011 in Washington DC.  He had been a speaker the day before and Christine Kraft had heard his speech: The Intersection of Mobile Health and Public Health – Towards Greater Understanding and Collaboration. Christine was so impressed that she brought him over to my easel after his performance. He told me about the work he was doing with OneWorld’s “Learning about Living Project.” He was helping youths in Senegal to be empowered in their sexual health using the tools of mobile technology.  Questions that could not be easily asked to the adults could be answered in a non-judgmental way by the computer or cell phone.

Kevin Adomayakpor and Christine Kraft

Kevin was far from his home of Senegal. He could not just run home and hand me a spare jacket in order to join the gallery. He handed me his other jacket and told me about his journey. He told me quite a bit about the youth of Senegal.  He told me about the HIV rate and the misinformation that many young people learn from their peers.  He told about the hope for a better future through mobile technology.

I painted this for Kevin: “A Light Shining in the Darkness.”

The Promise

In this painting, a young woman looks up with uncertainty within a darkened room. She is preparing to text a personal question. Her face is filled with worry. It is hard to talk about this subject and if it were not for a service like  “Learning about Living Project” she would have nowhere to turn.  

The room is darkened, but there is one light above and to the right of the young woman.  People might think it is a window. But this is a silhouette of a phone that shines as brightly as a sun. It can light her path.  It can give her hope.

Like many people today, my smart phone has become a central part of my life.  It is my alarm clock, my calendar, my camera, my calculator and it even lights my path at night. But imagine what the phone is to this young girl from Senegal.

It is the difference between life and death. 

This was the last jacket I painted at mHealth 2011. I could think of no better way to end the day. This is what mobile health is all about.

Kevin's Jacket


  1. A great point, about the meaning of the m-health mobile...