Visit from Sr. Rosa from Nairobi
Staying with friends
On April, 30th, Sr Rosa of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters from Ruaraka (Nairobi/Kenia) arrived in Rome to attend a seminar. In Ruaraka Hans-Peter and Michael had equipped two classrooms of the St. Scholastica School with computers and installed the network in January this year.
From Rome Sr Rosa's tour led her to the “Mother House of the Benedictine Mission” in Tutzing near the Lake of Starnberg. So we had the opportunity to meet up with her and show her a little part of Europe. We, meaning Wiltrud and Tilman Walk, Birgit and Michael Scholtz as well as Gilla und Hans-Peter Merkel.
Family Walk came from Aschaffenburg, family Scholtz from Mammern and they met Sr Rosa in the guest house “Maria Hilf” of the convent in Tutzing.
Here you will find two reports about Sr. Rosas stay
„Wie wir für die Freiheit kämpften“ - Rommel Roberts' book tour
Our project partner Rommel Roberts toured through Germany and Switzerland in promoting his book „Wie wir für die Freiheit kämpften. Von stillen Heldinnen und Helden in Südafrika“ (“Fighting for Freedom; Silent Heroines and Heroes in South Africa“) and there was remarkable respose in the media. The book had been translated into German by Linux4Afrika member Christina Stiefel...
Rommel Roberts auf Vortragsreise
Im Rahmen einer Lesereise durch die Schweiz und Deutschland, wird unser Projektpartner in Südafrika, Rommel Roberts vom
Common Workshop Linux4Afrika and STBA/STALCA
After Franz and Christina had been guests at the founding assembly of the association STBA / STALCA (Saar-Togo struggle against illiteracy) two weeks ago Linux4Afrika now had invited STABA members for a common workshop in Freiburg.
This workshop should focus on presenting the model solution and working with it. As STBA/STALCA among other things is planning to implement the Linux4Afrika concept this workshop was an important milestone for the guests from Saarbrücken.
Linux4Afrika at the founding assembly of STBA/STALCA
On Saturday, February 15th, Franz and Christina represented Linux4Afrika at a meeting where the association Saar-Togo Bekämpfung des Analphabetismus / Saar-Togo Association de Lutte contre L'Analphabetisme (Saar-Togo Struggle against illiteracy) was to be founded.
Through Hans-Peter Merkel Afizou Kpebane, who was born in Togo, had learned of FreiOSS and Linux4Afrika. The electrical engineer and IT manager has wanted to fight illiteracy in Togo for a long time and on this Saturday an association should be founded that similar to L4A collects used computers and sends them to schools in Togo – refurbished and equipped with a Linux operation system and learning software. This association wants to cooperate with L4A.
Container arrived in South Africa
Some days ago we got the message that the Linux4Afrika container arrived at Hilltop with our partner Rommel Roberts. Many helpful hands unloaded it on the Hilltop farm. Here are some pictures that Rommel's wife Robin sent to us.
"Wie wir für die Freiheit kämpften – Von stillen Heldinnen und Helden in Südafrika“
Rommel Roberts Buch ist im
Linux4Afrika Partner Rommel Roberts beschreibt in seinem Buch auf sehr beeindruckende Art den Widerstand der stillen Heldinnen und Helden gegen die Apartheid. Die deutsche Übersetzung des Buches aus dem südafrikanischen Englisch übernahm unser Mitglied Christina Stiefel.
The light at the end of the tunnel
On Tuesday we got down to business with joined forces. Michael who had come back from Chesongoch (glad to be back from the journey safe and sound) exchanged the hard disks of many of the 34 computers in IT room 2 with the current Edubuntu software which had been cloned by Hans-Peter and then checked on the BIOS so he could report the classrooms as being ready for tomorrow's linkup to the network.
Hans-Peter had roped in Debbie, a volunteer from the USA who is working with the Sisters. She really is an asset; with her math studies as a background she didn't need a lot of explanation to be able to install the networks and to make the IT room 1 ready for use together with Charles, the IT teacher.
This is the last short report from St. Scholstica Catholic School in Nairobi. We have spent 14 days of hard work and in spite of some drawbacks and mishaps we can look back on a successful mission. The schools connected to Karen (head office) are already looking with some envy at the two computer rooms and their equipment.
You only live twice... or
How to survive the journey from Chesongoch to Nairobi
On Monday at 9 o'clock a.m. we began our journey from Chesongoch (0º 44' 54'' N, 35º 38' 13'' E) to Nairobi. The Sisters had been busy picking Mangoes, Papayas and Custard-Apples and wrapping them carefully before we set off over rough ground up the mountains to the plains through a wonderful tropical forest passing cacti and numerous animals that crowded the road, no, the “dirt road”. Some time earlier Sister Benedictine had set off for Eldoret with several trainee nurses to take them to a special training course. However, a short distance from Eldoret we found the jeep with the Sister and the young Ladies standing at the roadside – a breakdown. The petrol pump was broken. After all the attempts to repair it had failed the Landrover was towed to Eldoret by a jeep the Sisters had required from there.
Hell and Heaven in Chesongoch
Originally Sunday was intended to have a rest but there were eight computers to look at and to upgrade if necessary. Yet, Michael had not taken into account how old the machines were.
Some skills were required to remove the covers and quite a lot more to put them back again! Each BIOS had to be installed anew which then shortened the time for booting considerably. Unfortunately three computers weren't willing to start properly and announced this with messages such as “use fsck” etc. That didn't help either and following Hans-Peter's advice on the phone they were just put aside. It was hell! “You've only got to take stock and not make repairs”, HP said.
Here is a report by HP as Michael is making his own experiences at Chesongoch and writes his own report.
The two and a half days of the Security/Forensics training at the Strathmore University ended on Saturday. The participants were mostly IT experts from Kenya's big mobile network operators. The emphasis of the training was on Android, SDK, Genymotion, Sleuthkit and Volatility. A big challenge was the high number of participants of 30 persons with a range of LOW to expert. Lesson learnt: In this field absolutely nothing will work without Linux.
But let's look at quite different missionary tasks now.
Where, actually, is Chesongoch?
Before this question can be settled we'll have to explain why only Michael and not Hans-Peter as well set out for this long trip. Contrary to the original agreement Hans-Peter was to hold a two-day hands-on- workshop (instead of the one-day workshop) at the Strathmore University (see last report). In Kenya one obviously lives from one surprise to the next.
Both of us went to Karen in a taxi after the first day of the workshop, where Michael stayed overnight whereas Hans-Peter , together with Sister Rosa, went back to the St. Scholastica Catholic School. Thus the poor chap “enjoyed“ the traffic through Nairobi for a second time. But Michael had to go straight to bed, for the trip to Chesongoch via Eldoret was to start as early as 6 o'clock a.m. in order not to arrive after dark. The plan for Chesongoch was to deliver two computers and ink cartridges, to find out the hospital's needs concerning IT and to upgrade the working memory of the computers which HP had brought two years ago.
The stress is over
As far as possible we have set up the computers for the school, installed most of the software (we'll still have to look at some machines but we'll do that later when everything else is finished) and connected it to the network. Today (Thursday) we went to the Strathmore University where Hans-Peter wants to give his talk on forensics. As there is usually sheer chaos on the roads in the morning (congestion, heavy pollution as well as pedestrians, cyclists and handcarts on the highway) we set up early to arrive in time.
TiA – This is Africa
Although we've had a long and busy day and feel some tiredness (and a can of beer) inside us we still want to share our joy with you today: the pallets are here. The truck was announced for 10 o'clock a.m. (apparently it left Mombasa yesterday!) - but it only arrived at 4 p.m (TiA). Until then we had spent the time loading the software on the hard disks in the second computer room. HP had “loaded” the server for this and the data were transferred over the network. Those who are working with terminal commands may understand Michael's desperation when he happened to ignore a blank or forgot a command line. This didn't occur often but kept HP moving (no sympathy as he wants to lose weight anyway).
Mission Kenya part 2 – or
“Hope dies last ...“
On Saturday Hans-Peter's personal luggage has finally arrived. One definitely feels better with clean clothes, and it lightens one's mood, too. It is Sunday and we are concerned whether we are going to receive the pallets in time. As we don't want to rely on neither Sister Emily's gut feeling (“I'm sure things will be there on Tuesday ...“) nor on divine assistance Michael contacted his acquaintance at the German Embassy in Nairobi whom he had addressed via the Department of Foreign Affairs in Berlin before his departure. Perhaps these guys can help - it's their job after all.
Visit to the project:
Linux4Afrika has started a new mission to provide the St. Scholastica School in Nairobi/Kenya with new computers and screens. Two years ago an IT classroom had already been equipped, now the aim was to connect a second room to the server, to check on the existing hardware and to enhance its performance. Three pallets with donated hardware had been shipped to Africa in December. The plan was that the freight should have arrived at the Sisters' place when Hans-Peter Merkel and Michael Scholtz would come at the beginning of January, so that they could immediately begin with the installation. Here is the report of the two “missionaries”.
Liebe Unterstützer von Linux4Afrika,
das vierte Quartal 2013 schließen wir mit größeren Lieferungen nach Kenia, Südfrika und Ghana ab. Danach wird unsere Halle komplett leer sein.
Für 2014 ist derzeit keine Hardware-Sammelaktion geplant. Wir möchten in diesem Jahr den Schwerpunkt auf die Betreuung unserer Projekte vor Ort legen. Gerne nehmen wir dafür Spendengelder entgegen, nehmen jedoch bis Ende 2014 keine Hardwarespenden an.
Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis und bitte bleiben Sie uns wohlgesonnen!
Packing the palletts for South Africa was planned for several Saturdays and finally everything was finished. Thanks to Werner as an almost professional director and all the hard-working and experienced helpers the pallets were ready earlier than planned. On the whole there were 12 pallets with computers, TFTs, other hardware, cables etc. - eleven for Rommel and his team at Hilltop, South Africa, and one for Celso in Mozambique, which will be sent there from SA.
Pallets on their way
On Wednesday, October 23 rd, the pallets for Kenya were collected by the shipping company. Again we were assisted by staff of the Messe Freiburg. The fork lift driver even had to transport the pallets quite a long way over the whole site, as the big truck couldn 't stop right in front of our storeroom because of the Fair being held on the site.
According to the shipment company the container will be at the harbour in Mombasa, Kenya, on December, 11th.
Linux4Afrika says thank you to all the helpers and hopes that the freight will safely arrive at the St. Scholastica Academy in Nairobi.
Packing for Kenya
For this Saturday, 10 a.m. volunteers had been asked to pack pallets with hardware for the St. Scholastica School in Nairobi, Kenya. We were pleased to see that some helpers were at the storeroom quite early so that packing could start on time. Werner being an expert in packing pallets for L4A could gather his assistants around him while Franz was carefully making a list on his laptop about everything that was going on the pallets and Hans-Peter was the person whom everybody asked what to do. We were again assisted by the hard-working students of St. Ursula High School in Freiburg who proved to be successful with all their assignments from sorting LAN-cables to unscrewing stands from TFTs for optimized transportation to carrying computers to pallets.
Greatest donation for Linux4Afrika so far
We had been informed that the 15 pallets packed with donated hardware would arrive today between noon and 2 p.m. But as early as ten o'clock in the morning the huge truck of the transportation agency was waiting in front of our storeroom. Luckily Franz, too, had set off for the storeroom quite early.
Linux4Afrika is mourning for Luk Klütz
Last weekend Luk Klütz died in a tragic car accident in South Africa.
Since September 2012 Luk had been working as a
We from Linux4Afrika want to express our compassion and deepest sympathy to Luk's family. Our thoughts are with them and with his friends and especially with those who were with him at the time of the accident. Our thoughts are also with the staff of Hilltop Empowerment Centre and above all with Rommel Roberts, who is there taking care of everything, especially of the young volunteers.
Rommel has organized a memorial service for Luk on this Wednesday.
For this event Rommel asked us to call for donations which we are willingly doing here.
Those who want to donate something please use the
Donations from customs offices
After we had been given 124 PCs by the customs office in Freiburg 6 weeks ago we could now receive a second delivery from the customs office in Lörrach. Christina and Franz set off to Lörrach with their trailer. Two hours later the amount of PCs in our storeroom had risen to about 300. The smart Esprimo PCs will now be equipped with hard drives which were kindly provided by the company Hetzner . 50 of these PCs will soon go to Kenya.
Visiting Sister Christiane in Tutzing
Sister Christiane Spannheimer OSB is being on home leave in the Benedictine Sisters Convent in Tutzing, Germany. Otherwise her “home“ is in Nairobi in Kenya where she has been doing her duty with the Mission Benedictine Sisters for many years. Linux4Afrika has equipped computer labs in the school at that Convent and Hans-Peter Merkel and Franz Epple have been on site personally to provide support.
Visit from Hilltop, South Africa
From summer time in South Africa Rommel Roberts and his wife Robin travelled to (not too fierce) winter in Europe – especially to meet old friends and supporters. Relations go partly back to the 1970s and 80s when Rommel was supported in his struggle against Apartheid by many South Africa Committees and church groups.