I haven’t gotten much accomplished in the past month. First there was preparing for, attending and recovering from my speaking gig in the US. Then there was the small matter of my kids being home, and not wanting to do anything but just hang out with them. Now, on the backside of all that I find myself swamped and overwhelmed. With Derbycon looming, there’s so much I want/need to get ready and lots of exciting things to do, but I had to wade through a sea of work that had flooded in during my absence.
This will be a weird post, as it’s more like a “Day in the life” kind of thing, but I have to catch up so I can get on with the less routine, more exciting things.
First, the technical workload: Two iPhone unlocks, one android unlock, two laptop repairs, three hard drive recoveries.
Next, the leather workload. Our friend Merryde asked if she could sell our leather products in her gorgeous bed and breakfast (Gately in Entebbe) and we agreed because the busy season is drawing to a close and we need to keep selling to keep the leather program going. The team worked really hard to deliver the first shipment of journals and shot glasses.
Because of this we realized we really needed another trainee in the leather shop, but honestly we didn’t have much time to do the training. So I decided to go high tech and use leather training videos Tandy on a laptop in the workshop. These are the same videos Jen and I used to learn, and so we figured they could at least lay the baseline for our new trainee. As it turned our, our more senior craftsmen got a lot out of them and I did too. It was good to review. Here’s the team watching the videos in the workshop. Special thanks to George Hurst, Leather master for making these videos.
We’ve had to spend some money on dog training since theft has become a bigger and bigger problem in Jinja. Our dogs are great (two German Shepherds and a goofy Ugandan dog) but they really aren’t trained to help out our guards or know not to accept (poisoned) food that’s flung over the fence. Also, with guests coming more frequently, the dogs really need to be trained to know to accept guests and not attack them or dance with them. The first day, he trainer said we needed to buy leashes. Good leather ones. So, I made some out of leather scraps and the metal from an old laptop bag. Not too bad. Strong and decent, a little uglier than I like, but not bad for an hour’s work .. and cheap.
Last, Jen and I spent some time on “chai mugs” for the kids to take to school. RVA has a “chai tree” in the central courtyard where kids hang their mugs for morning chai time. We couldn’t let them have just ordinary mugs, so we made some tankards. Here’s a picture of Trevor’s mug. Jen did the amazing art, and I did the construction (layout, template design and stitching). We make a good team. =)
I had to go to the bank at one point and it became a truly African experience. The first three banks had technical problems (one “hardware error” and two “network down” messages), but the bank that was working had fifty people in line. Fifty. And this wasn’t just any line. In Uganda, people stand pressed front to back to keep people from cutting in lone. I felt like a Panini (grilled, hot, flat and greasy) when I made it through that line.
I also had a couple of letters to write (on to our donors and one to groups we’ve supported in Uganda) and catching up to do on email, but finally.. I’m caught up. Now the “fun” stuff can begin. =)