Friday, September 16, 2016

Remembering how fortunate we are to live in the US

Each time I visit this area I am reminded of how fortunate we are to live in the US.  Driving between the hotel and the office I go past several schools with soccer fields which are being grazed by cows who, as nature has it, leave a trace of their past on the pitch.  The fields are hilly, hardly any grass and have upright poles for goals; yet the kids fill them every day to play.

I walked into town yesterday looking for a wireless network card to fix a computer and came up empty.  However, I did stop at Sancofa coffee shop for a muffin and a water.  The shop is on the 3rd floor overlooking a park and the road; the following pictures are of the area.

Grazing cattle in a city park

Waiting for a fare

Security Guard going to work with his antique rifle

Delivering a bed

Non stop foot, bicycle, motorcycle, truck and car traffice

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hitting the Ground Running

Since landing in Uganda I have been non-stop in getting my affairs in order to travel out to Loyo-Oryam.  CRS was gracious enough to allow me to sleep until just before 9 am after reaching the hotel at the stroke of mid-night gaining only an hour here and there of sleep along the way.

After a quick search for a cellular modem and smart phone and the trials and tribulations of converting US dollars to Uganda Schillings (bring new crisp $50 and $100's) or suffer the fate of inspection and discount; thankfully the ATM dispenses shillings at the going international rate).

The modem is a usb device that not only connects to the 3 and 4 G networks; but also acts as a wireless router.  This router provides ease of use and configuration for small groups at a minimal expense.

The drive from Kampala to Loyo-Oyam can take anywhere between four to six hours depending upon traffic and road conditions.  Since Eid had just ended many people are on holiday which, unlike the US, left the roads open for ease of travel.  Upon reaching the SACCO (savings and credit cooperative (credit union to  us) the discussion centered upon my return and the gift of their solar power unit from Mark, Jim and Neal.  The materials were purchased in Kampala and installed by the same company.  The company did an excellent job with the installation including monitors and circuit breakers which are a bit uncommon in the rural areas.

Jacob (jaw cup) the SACCO manager is standing next to the inverter ( blue box).  The white panels across from him are the manual throw switch to go onto solar from the wire and the circuit breakers.  The two small boxes between the blue and white panels and the inverter are the power monitors (solar amps, power, load amps).  There are ten 4 x 2 foot panels on the roof that charge the four gel type batteries.  The battery backup can power the SACCO for ten days without sunshine; however, being on the equator no one can remember going 10 days without sunshine and/or power.

The solar panels are so advanced they were generating electricity upon my arrival on a very gray and overcast day.

The following pictures were taken on my Iphone on the trip from Kampala to Loyo-Oyam.

Downtown Kampala

Downtown Kampala

Note the Railroad Crossing Sign

Typical Kampala traffic

typical bathroom - gender identification is not an issue here

Chicken stew for lunch; rice, cabbage and the back of the chicken 

Baboons hanging out near the Nile for handouts

Typical truck loaded with items and people after the market

My view from the room - early morning washing of the pots and pans that will cook the food I will eat.

Traveling coffee mug and french press.  I admit it; I have become a coffee snob.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Ten months ago I met with the group at Loro-Oyam SACCO on an assignment to teach the use of computers and applications to allow the outfit to computerize their savings and loan records.  Recently three friends,  Jim Mack, Mark Sevier and Neal Sorenson, funded the purchase and installation of a solar power backup system it was brought to my attention there are issues with the local area network and computers I had previously installed.    This trip is to troubleshoot and update the network and install a Mifos accounting system.


Loro-Oyam SACCO September 2016