This week has been a whirlwind. I’ve been working really hard on the Web Server for our Training Center on Lubas. Thanks to the massive pile of content sent by various volunteers, I have conference videos, free training videos, ebooks and more all ready to roll. The web server was no small feat. It’s running on the most up-to-date XP build possible (thanks to the offline updater we were sent). Yes, XP because our cafe software is on XP. It’s a start. Don’t make fun of me. The web data is copied to a 120GB TrueCrypt partition which serves as the web root. I’m hoping to get a big SATA drive from somewhere, because we’re already maxed out on our “massive” 150GB drive. Anyhow, there were all kinds of problems like varied NTFS implementations (between Tuxera NTFS and True Crypt’s version.. file name length specifically), and problems getting out clients locked down (all patches, no USB write, No CD write, Deep Freeze, AVG, Cafe software, etc). I was working on it all up to the minute I left for Entebbe for IT-Defense ( Conferences like this pay the bills. We live off of this, and donor support, so gigs like this are a big deal. But I was frazzled. My mind was spinning when I left. I’m not saying that’s any excuse for what I’m about to say.

It’s best I just come out with it. I’m a bonehead.

We left Entebbe at 3:30pm on Monday. I had to get to Kampala by 5:00 to get my passport from the lawyer who is helping us file for a work permit and register HFC, Ltd as a business. We finally got to the lawyer’s at about 6:30 (the poor staf waited an hour and a half after hours for us) and the Kampala traffic had us sitting in inch-by-inch traffic for hours. The normally three-hour drive to Entebbe ended up taking us five. I settled into the hotel by 8:30, and ordered room service. It took twenty minutes (Africa time) which meant the food came after an hour and fifteen minutes. I showered off the dust and grime which the African Equatorial Oven had baked onto me and after eating, I set my alarm for 4:30, and planned on a 4:45 departure. Adding the five minute drive to the airport, that would have settled me in at EBB by 4:50, plenty of time to board my 6:20am flight. I woke up on time (body clock, follwed by alarm, followed by wake-up call) and got out by 4:50. I made it to the airport by  5:15am, and had a nice chat with the owner of the hotel who also happens to be from Maryland.

At the airport, I got out of the van and walked up to security.

“Flight?” he asked.

“6:20, Kenya Air,” I said confidently.

He shook his head. “No such flight,” he said confidently.

This set me off kilter a bit, but I persisted. “No, there is. I’m on it,” I said, less than fully confident.

I took out my computer to show him my eticket. I pointed right to the line in question. “See there,” now poking with extra vigor, making sure not to touch my monitor because thats icky. “Kenya Air. 6:20AM…” That’s when I saw it. He finished my sentence.

“Arrival in Nairobi.”


Somehow, I botched the times. Like I said, I’m a bonehead.

I panicked, begged and pleaded. No dice. For once, the flight left EXACTLY on time. I ran upstairs and got anothe flight on Uganda Air. It would get me to Nairobi 45 minutes before my connection to Amsterdam took off.

We landed early, but by the time I got to the transfer desk, it was 8:00. The desk made some phone calls and assured me it was impossible to board my connection. Someone made the judgement call that an 8:30 flight would lock down at EXACTLY twenty-nine minutes before takeoff.

The best they could offer was a 10:50PM flight out, that would land me in Germany at 11:00AM on Wednesday, an hour and a half after my talk.

I took the slot and started calling Germany. Cirosec was VERY cool and said they would swap around talks, but I feel like an utter…bonehead. Well, I’m paying for it now. All told, I will be in the Nairobi airport for 14 hours.

I’m doing my best though to work as feverishly as I can during the time I have. Not that it’s like a penance, but I feel the need to make the most of a bad situation.

I put together the “Hello Shmoocon” video.

I worked on a Pages doc to help Jen and I layout furniture at the Lubas Training Center.

I used my snails-pace reading skills to dig quite a bit into Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea” again. This book was decisive and life-changing for me. That book and Wood’s “Leaving Microsoft to Change The World” encouraged me to quit the rate race and move my family to Uganda to focus on HFC full-time. I’m hoping (hope beyond hope) that one of these airports will have his latest book. I have no chance of findinng it in Uganda. Hey, anyone know Greg? Does CAI need computer training?

Now, I’m getting ready to pour through our training content to create tests and certificates for the training we have. Tests and certificates are a big deal in Uganda. It’s not enough to have the skills. You gotta have the paper. So we’re on the brink of having a lot of training, but we don’t really have tests. Nor do we have a “menu” of available courses to give people an idea of how long each will take.

I’m rambling, and although it’s not exciting, I gotta dig into this training.

Take care, and take my advice. Read carefully. Sorry if that has no relevence to you. It’s big for me today.