B – Diary #2

Finally got some internet, on my trusty Galaxy s2 of course! Catching up with photos and diary notes.
Diary 2, 25th july
Mosquito nets, voice-overs and mysterious dryness

Awoke from Under the mosquito net to the patter of heavy rain, good for the dry soil, ready for coming plantings, less so for the humans who are supposed to inspect these preparations today.
Charmie the maid has come into my room to watch the rest of a Nigerian DVD which she describes as a romantic film about relationships, but there’s not much romance. Lots of shouting and abuse if you ask me. The actors such as they are, are yelling in English but rather than use sub-titles the producers have opted for Swahili voice-over, with one man doing all the voice-overing, screaming man and wailing down-trodden woman alike, which is very strange, especially when he keeps voice-overing even when there are long periods of Silence. I’ve left Charmie to it and am perched on the little porch with the rain splashing onto my deet-drenched toes.
A vehicle of some sort has been ordered for the day, hopefully one with a roof, which is a relief.
BTW, houses don’t have landlines. Apparently employees of the phone provider would charge their’ phone calls (and those of their friends) to other bill payers, so the service kind of shot itself in the foot. Consequently even for those few people with computers, internet access is very uncommon.

+256-773545199 My new number.
Waiting for the rain to stop, Ayubu asked what my Steripen does. So we decided to do a human experiment on some dodgy looking tap water that everyone boils before drinking. That was an hour ago, so far we are both ok…. I mention this for obvious reasons.
A student, Maria has just come into the MTCEA office to use one of the computers. She’s typing a research paper for a friend who is doing a diploma in development studies. The aged computers have just ground back to life again after the day’s first power cut – you learn to save your work regularly in this environment. Battery backup, or a generator, or a set of laptops would be so useful. And the printer’s not working anyway so the whole Maria exercise is somewhat flawed. They have a “library”, a bookshelf with maybe 100 old tomes, the latest of which escaped the press just after Caxton himself. They know they need web access for their 80 regular students but can’t afford it.
Rains stopped, Suns out just like NZ. Peter’s just arrived on the motorbike from his home 2 hours away, mainly mud roads, and mysteriously is almost dry.
Home now, but not before lunch in a back room somewhere took the place of the meeting we were due to have. Things are very cheap here, which I feel strange about. The project is really cash strapped now because the harvest was poor and late and farmers generally haven’t been able to repay their micro-loans. Peter asked me for a micro loan which I was happy to provide but it’s strange that $100 can change the whole viability of an organization….


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joe Thomas
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 04:49:16

    Sounds so interesting. I’ll talk to the guys at work out and work out the cheapest way to use a 12V battery as a backup power supply. We do it all the time at work but it we use separate 13.8V power supplies to keep the battery charged. How long are the power cuts for usually?


    • simthomas
      Jul 26, 2012 @ 19:42:37

      Thanks joe, power normally off for 1-2 hours. Even keeping them on for a few minutes would allow the students to save their work. There are 6 desktops connected to the one wall socket (!).


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