Origin of Yor Oguyo

This Luo phrase translates to `the path of the butterfly’.

The words were not coined by me, but one far greater than I. None other than Africa’s foremost man of science, Professor Thomas Risley Odhiambo, founding director of the premier institution of excellence in research and capacity building known as ICIPE (International Centre of Insect Science and Physiology www.icipe.org).

The ethos and philosophy for the blog is largely influenced by Odhiambo’s thinking.

In 2003, months before his physical transition, Odhiambo wrote:

…Last year, I shared my thoughts and experience on silence with small multi-disciplinary group of professionals in Oxford; and it was subsequently published in a new journal entitled, “Experiments in Silence: Points of Entry”. Let me make a brief quotation from it:

“There is an impression some people have that during silence nothing is happening… 

My own experience is that a great deal is happening during silence and that, in fact, it is a profound experience. A good analogy here is that of the butterfly.

Scientists who have studied the life of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly can tell you that they seem to be almost entirely different species. A caterpillar is a voracious feeder – a massive eater, eating almost continuously 24 hours a day. It eats several times its own weight in volume of food. It feeds so fast those who are studying it closely can literally see it grow in the 10 days or so that it is a caterpillar.

In contrast, a butterfly is very selective feeder, flitting from one flower to another, feeding on nectar, which in some cultures has been referred to as the food of gods…

In between these two – voracious feeder and the delicate feeder – is the pupa, the chrysalis. It is totally immobile… it does not feed at all for three or four weeks it is in that stage… 

My point is that biochemically and physiologically a profound transformation is taking place during this period. The whole organism is being transformed into totally new animal. That is why in the old days people thought that a caterpillar and a butterfly were totally different animals that didn’t share anything. But now we know that it is the same animal… Transformed in the silence of the chrysalis.”

The point of my analogy is that during that silence, when you have gone inside, a transformation takes place in you, and by the time you finish the silence you are a different person – transformed profoundly..

Being his student and he my chosen mentor, I adopted his analogy for the spirit of the blog. That my musings that collectively seek to contribute to the transformation of the African continent through a science-led development paradigm be the philosophical basis of the blog.