Here’s little story about how the smallest action can really develop into something amazing: Last spring I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to get a couple shots before the CFU 2006 visit when I spotted an article about a new highly energy efficient solar PC that this company Inveneo was developing. I remembered the CFU team’s constant lack of electrical power the year before. This was the solution! Excited, I got home, looked them up online, sent an email, then told Fredrik and John about my discovery.
Archive for July, 2007
Today Christina left for Tanzania. I hope she enjoyed her stay here and was able to take a lot of pictures. It was great having her here—I felt a little more motivated to get out there and take photos (the results of that trigger-happy day will be scattered throughout this post). Thanks, Christina, I hope you’re having fun in Tanzania!
Last night she interviewed me, and I was struck by a particular question she asked.
So why do you keep coming back to Uganda?
This year is my third visit back, but I was so caught up in the technical work behind setting up InterConnection Uganda that I forgot for a bit why I was here. I had one train of thought: get this place up and running. But that was it…and I sometimes felt a little empty, like I was missing something. And I was.
As always, the flight for the CFU team leaves early in the morning. Generally the team goes to a discotheque and dances all night before boarding the plane, but this year Janet wanted to take it easy…so the all-night party happened beforehand.
We left for Entebbe at around 4:30 in the morning and got to the airport entrance right before sunrise.
“Mamma Janet” is the name Ugandans have given to the First Lady, Janet Museveni, because she acts just like a mother for her country. She is a very powerful figure, but perhaps one of the most humble and caring people I’ve met.
Anyway, today, just following the awesome dinner/dance party and the Vice President’s, we’re heading to the State House where the First Lady has invited the CFU team for lunch (talk about your crazy weekends). She was so touched by their hard work, and was especially thankful to them for installing a lab in one of her chosen schools this year. So this was her goodbye party for them.
The day started out pretty normalâ€¦I headed to InterConnection Uganda early in the morning and finished setting up the demo computers, then I did some work sorting out all the RAM we have managed to rummage up into the appropriate size and speed piles. Things were pretty calm today after the mad rush to get the place ready for the Grand Opening.
Christina was scheduled to arrive at 2:00pm in Entebbe, but John the Driver got a little mixed up on what the schedule was, so we didnâ€™t leave until 1:50pm. Ooops. I hope sheâ€™ll be okay.
By the time we made it to the airport, the passengers were just leaving the airplane. It turns out that they had delayed the flight by an hour. Wowâ€¦what timing.
Then things got even nuttier.
John, Christina, and I hung around Entebbe until about 6 pm, waiting for the Computers for Uganda team to arrive. On the agenda today: Meeting with the Vice President of Uganda at his beach house in Entebbe.
Today is the big day. We got to InterConnection Uganda under little sleep very early in the morning to make last minute preparations. Three ministers were going to be here today, including Johnorable. The guest of honor is the Minister of Education and Trade.
Rudi left for Kenya today. Since he’s with the CFU team he had scheduled his vacation (a three day safari trip in maisa mara) ahead of time because this was the week that the students were going to take two days out of to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park. Unfortunately the original schedule was completely blown to bits due to the late arrival of the container. And unfortunately he is going to miss the grand opening tomorrow because of it. Don’t worry, Rudi…I’ll take a lot of photos!
In other news…I rode my first boda-boda today!
We’re almost two days behind with all of the doctor visits, so today we played extreme catch-up. InterConnection’s Grand Opening is going to be on Friday, so this place has to be uber clean and organized by that time. We need to make a good first impression.
I set to work organizing all the internal components on the parts shelf, the keyboards, and mice. In the meantime, M.T.A.C., the management and technical educational institution that’s allowing us to use the warehouse space, came today for their share of computers (our barter for the warehouse).
At one point the power went out, and we attempted to get the generator hooked up.
…but we failed miserably.
Later, Fredrik, Rudi, and I had dinner with the Katahoire family at a very nice Indian resturant. Dr. Katahoire is the Chairman of the Ugandan Communications Commission. We discussed our plans for InterConnection Uganda and then about Fredrik’s idea of intergrating Microsoft SmartPhones with PCs to collect data from SMS messages sent from normal “dumb” phones. But we’ll talk more about that in time.
Jackie has been quite sick all weekend, and she has become very sensitive to smells (with the burning trash pile nearby that certainly is not a good thing). She has been throwing up rather regularly for the past few days and hasn’t been keeping much water down, let alone any food. Her mother has been calling—she’s quite worried.
We took her to “The Surgery,” a medical center that is supposedly endorsed by the U.S. Embassy. Since Brenda was at work today at the South African Embassy, Fredrik had to drive us around in Kampala. I was actually quite impressed with his driving. When we had to make a major right turn (like a left turn for all of you who drive on the right side of the road) he just busted right through two lanes of cars. Oh yes, they backed off. They were probably thinking, uh oh, a Muzungu driving…better get out of the way!