Marking the assignments took less time than I thought. They were good! Not great, but good. I had been giving hints on how to break the problem down into managable steps and I can tell that several of them have just done the first step I described and handed in that. As if they lost signt of the final objective when I talked to them. But because I know they have all worked hard and individually on this, I can give marks for their effort.

So when that was done this morning, I had another look at my Perl program and figured out the last bit. Im going to try and upgrade this server now. So if it all goes pear-shaped, please bear with me while I put it stright.


I can hardly believe it. This is the last lab session before the deadline for the Javascript Assignment — the one where I set 12 different assignments for the 12 ladies in the class — I have helped three ladies this morning and, despite the fact that the lab seems full of my class, who seem to be working hard, nobody else had their hand up. So I went to see a few of them to see what they were doing. They had started to do each other’s assignments because they had finished their own and wanted to practise!

😀 Now I am looking forward to marking these!

Brie Tish

That’s what they shouted at me today as I was on my way to the market in Tala:
“Brie-tish, brie-tish!”. Or was it “Bree-tish”, or possibly “camambert”? That bike draws attention.

Erm what bike?

Hang on, Ill see if I can upload the pic.
(the pic is very large so I have move it to the “more…” section.)

Now, back at the screen and suffering from a terrible stiff neck on the right side which I have started to think — after Denise asked me what I have been doing different lately — might be from sitting at the computer all day using the mouse with my righ hand on a really low chair. Its not uncomfortable as such, but its a million miles away from those ergonomic safety posters we had all over Imperial.

So, how did the Javascript workshop go on Saturday?…
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Square eyes

Been sitting at my computer most of the day.

I decided to set 12 separate assignments for the Javascript class to make a point about copying because last time I got 6 identical disks and the other 6 had copied a lot too. But it means thinking of 12 roughly equivalent exercises, writing the questions (wrote them as web pages that I will give the girsl one each to modify and add script to) and also answering them. Today I did all the answers and the last two questions. So not much to report other than that I have been keeping my eye on the fantastic discussions on the comments on the last few entries.

I thought it would be great to have a list of he 10 or so entries with comments most recently added. I have been looking into that as well. Unlike Movable Type greymatter does not include this facility and neither does it have modules or plug-ins. Its Perl hacking. **shudder!!**

I could do it, Ive done it before with the Wiki script. But it’d take a lot of trial and error to test it out and made sure its reliable. Having decided not to bring my laptop I dont have a computer to work on in the evenings. So … let me just tell you that there are some great discussions going on in the last week’s entries. And this makes me very happy. Its exciting coming to look at this site now because I never know when my visitors are going to start talking to each other and cooking up new stuff. So thanks everyone for being part of that.

And if you’re someone who reads but does not leave comments, think of leaving one now, they make me feel happy. Just say “hi, Im reading” or whatever.

OK off to cook a pumpkin for supper and get ready for tomorrow when I give out the assignments and spend a few hours trying to help the ladies to complete them. I am half expecting some sort of disaster as I don’t actually know how good their Javascript skills are because their last assignment was such a wash-out. But I’ll let you know how it goes.

More frivolity

Despite the vaguely Cary On humor of the previous entry (frankly, I think its a load of Toss!) there is a serious conversation going on there. Meanwhile the power went off here (as sometimes happens) and I walked to Tala to post five letters to the UK and Belgium, and to buy some food I needed (and some I did not). I got Skippy(sic) crunchy peanut butter, another cake mix, green banannas for cooking and a loaf of bread; came back and had peanutbutter and bananna sandwhiches, wonderful!.

On the way back from the market I had the usual barriage of greetings from the kids at Mother Theresa’s and then I heard it. Coming from a small shack containing just one little shop….

**Bert Kaempfert**’s Swingin’ Safari! Oh how I whistled!
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For some reason…

…I find this amusing

This morning while I was running three small girls in blue jumpers and skirts, carrying their obligatory books and, for some reason, bits of stick, waited for me by the side of the road. Imagine them: three tiny tots who know they ought to be walking west towards Nguluni but there is this big Mzungu lumbering up the road behind them, so they’re all looking round over their right shoulders. The one at the back is turned most towards me, the middle is looking round, the one in front still facing mostly forward — they resemble mischievous monkeys — their faces suggest mixed emotions. They are excited but also frightened. I smile and, as I pass, say,
“Good morning!”.
The back one turns and immediately starts runing too, but the middle one is still there in front of her. They collide and the two of them stagger into the front one. All three of them bob about like dominos that have had too much to drink. Finally I hear some of them have started running but they soon give up.

I smiled all the way to Nguluni Bible College, where I turn round and start the return leg. On the way I pass them again.
“Good morning ladies, how are you?”.
Again they stare, open mouthed. As I pass one shouts in reply:
“I fine!”.
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Birthdays are special days

bdcake (43k image)

Oh yes they are! More photos in ‘more’ section.

Got some more post this morning: a wonderful CD from the Jungle Kid, thank you so much! And a letter from Lydia.

There is a movie on the CD which I have seen only on a machine that has no sound card: dark shapes move rythmically over dark backgrounds. Faces flicker. I’m going to have to track down a computer with the appropriate combination of working sound and media-player…

last night on the way back to my house from the market (where I had inadvertently bought some ripe fruit that I could play the guess-the-fruit-game with because even I dont know what it is, but it turned out to be over-ripe and full of maggots) I was greeted by two of the teachers from the girls school behind the college: smart gentlemen on bicycles.
“Hello Mark” called on of them, as he passed.
I rotated on the spot with my jaw and shopping bags hanging slackly down. He looked back over his shoulder as he pedaled.
“You want me to tell you who I am!”, he said. It wasn’t a question, he knew damn well I did.

To cut a long story short, he turns out to be the husband of the secretary here at HRC. They seem to have been friends of the previous volunteer and he invited me to visit him on a weekend saying that he would, if necessary, come and fetch me from my house because he didnt think I should remain so isolated there. Made me smile all the way back to my little isolated house… until I saw the maggots anyway!
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Shameless request for help

I was talking to someone before I came here about donating computers. I can’t remember who it was, but the gist was that they worked for a company that upgraded their machines and just put the old ones into storage. I thought, at the time that it would not be possible to use them here as I had heard of high import duty. But I should have known, Sister P knows a way to get round it. So if whoever it was is reading this, please email me and let me know your employer’s contact details so I can appraoch them and ask for their help. The new building for the cyber cafe is nearly finished. I have just been to have a look at the plastered walls with places for network and power sockets. But Sister has only two PCs to put there. This is a revenue project for the college, to help pay the monthly cost of the satelite dish. If you think you might be able to get your company to donate some kit to us, please get in contact.