Monthly Archives: May 2018

First two days at BOC

I finally got to Bishop Okullu College to start the install on Wednesday.  The shopping spree went well earlier in the day and then we got to BOC in the early afternoon.    I have to say, it’s been a blessing so far getting everything together for the network setup.   The local vendors were very helpful, including one that pre-ordered some network equipment that was not available locally that I wanted to get.    With the time we had left during the day, we were able to communicate some needs we had to a local carpenter and also an electrician.   Turns out that the power plugs were a bit old and worn out, so we had those changed out to be sure we would not have any problems with the power we would be drawing for the computers.   We also got the Mac Mini setup (which is our server), a printer and a couple of the Thin Client work stations setup.   We are ultimately setting up 15 thin clients for the students to use.


Some have asked me what the deal is with Thin Client work stations.   The way they work is that they are simple computers with a basic operating system that does nothing but help you connect to a Windows Server that is setup to act as a terminal server.    Each thin client then connects to the server and opens up a full Windows session which allows the users to run whatever software we have loaded on the server.   In this case, we have Microsoft Office 2016 along with Google Chrome browser and Adobe Acrobat reader.   I’m sure we’ll find some other software that they need for training and such along the way.   The beauty of the Thin Client environment is that you only need to install the software once on the server and then everyone has it.   Of course, you still need to license the software for the number of users you have, but at least the installation is quick and easy. 


Using thin client’s with a server is very economical in situations like we have at the college.  First of all, the total use of electric power is much less with 15 thin clients instead of 15 regular PC’s.    Secondly, the total cost of the computers if far less.   15 PC’s over here in Kenya at about $1200 each would be $18,000 USD for the computers alone.   The entire budget for this project is $8000, which includes all of the equipment.  The thin clients cost $160 each.


So on to Thursday.    The carpenter came bright and early and began to do the work on the cubicals as we specified and also setup the Cellular booster antenna on the roof that I brought with me.   Our Internet service will be coming through the Cell Phone system(s) so I wanted to make sure that the signal would be good inside the computer room so we can maximize data throughput.   All of the Thin Client stations are setup now so all we need to do is finish the network wiring.   That’s where we ran into some trouble.  We are finding that the RJ-45 network connector that I brought with me are a bit difficult to crimp onto the wires.   Let’s just say it’s taking about 4 times longer to make each cable than I anticipated.   Because of that, we quite working on the wires a little early today so we don’t waste time.  On Saturday, I’m going to do some additional shopping and hopefully pick up some easier to attached connectors along with some mouse pads that I totally forgot to get earlier.    We also need to get a Cellular Router for the Internet connection.   Then on Monday, we’ll get back to work on the wiring and try to finish up the entire setup completed so I can start training the trainer.  His name is Bonface (we just call him Bon).   He’s been very helpful in the setup of the equipment along with Nick, who is our other local computer expert.


So what’s up for tomorrow?    We are going to a wedding.   And I’ve been asked to sing for the wedding.   I’ve got a song all lined up for that, so it should be a fun and exciting event to be a part of.  


OK. So it time for bed here, so I’ll try to get back to the blog tomorrow night and share about the wedding.   Blessings to you all and thanks for the continued prayers.





First full day in Kisumu area

Today, my first full day in the Kisumu area provided for an interesting experience.   Sad to say, Bishop David’s uncle Johanas passed away last week.   Today was the funeral.    So the plan was to go to the college first so I could do a last minute assessment on some of the equipment we’ll need for the install and then we would head off to the funeral.  Needless to say, I was not going to take any pictures there, but I did at least get some shots of the scenery nearby.    


So we did as we planned.   I was able to figure out how many power strips we’ll need for the computers.   I also got some idea of where and how we will install the Cell service amplifier, cabling and outside antenna.    I also found that the desk / cubical units need some holes drilled or cut so that we can pass wires through for the network.    They are going to have a carpenter on hand tomorrow so I can go over those renovations with him.


After that we headed off to the funeral.   Driving there required doing something just short of a full off roading experience.   I mean it was a road we were on (sort of), but it was deeper, muddier and craggier than anything I been on anywhere.    We made our way to the top of a ridged and then went on foot for a pretty good distance down a high hill to end or at the home of his uncle, where he was being buried.    It was an interesting event culturally.   It was nothing like any funeral I’ve been too.   Hard to explain really.   You’d have to be there to understand fully.    Let’s just say that it’s was much more of a celebration than a solemn occasion.


With all of the travel and walking down and then up a rocky path, I was pretty wiped out at that point.   The temperature was pleasant enough, but the real energy killer is the sun here in East Africa.   I was glad for the diesel breeze the vehicle provided on the way home.   


Arriving at home in Kisumu, we found that Lynette the Kodia’s oldest daughter had setup coffee, soda and other snacks.   It was a welcome treat after a long day of travel, hiking and heat.    I must have scarfed down have of the donuts she put out.


Tomorrow will be the second shopping day where hopefully we gather the rest of the equipment we’ll need for the computers.   This mainly means getting all of the monitors (23” flat screens…. Nice!) along with the power strips.   One thing I’m going to wait on is the Cell Data modem.    The reason for that is because I tested data throughput today using my android tablet via a provider called Safaricom.   It was OK, but I’m not sure it will be the best we can do.  Airtel also had a good strong signal in the area that my iPhone was using, but I did not have an adequate way to test the throughput because my provider T-Mobile limits it to 2G overseas.    SO! Tomorrow I’ll get an Airtel SIMM Chip for the Android so I can run comparative tests, once the booster system is in place.    


Dinner is soon, so I’ll finish for the evening.   Hope you all are doing well back in the USA or elsewhere.   I can tell you I’m having a great time here in Kenya.   





In Kisumu

I arrived in Kisumu around 10:30 this morning on a short 50 minute flight from Nairobi.   After meeting Janepher and Paula Kodia we drove to their home in Kisumu.   I was a little embarrassed in that I did not recognize Paula right away.  It’s not so much that she has grown physically since my last trip in Jan 2017, but her hair was completely different.   She understood completely after I showed her the picture I had of the family from 2017. 


Today turned out to be a shopping day for computer equipment.   We ended up purchasing equipment from a couple of different shops.    I brought the thin client computer with me along with the Mac Mini for our server.   The rest of the equipment; keyboards, mice, monitors, wiring, network switch, etc. we need to get here because it would be just too expensive to bring with me, not to mention heavy to bring from the USA.   Besides, I try to purchase what I can in country as it’s better for their economy.    So we got all of the keyboards, most of the mice, one of the 16 monitors we need, a Gigabyte network switch and Cat6 wire for the network.  The rest of the equipment including a printer we’ll get on Wednesday.   This will give me plenty to work to get the project started.   


Tomorrow we will go to Kisumu in the morning to check over the computer room to see if there is anything else we’ll need to pick up on Wednesday and then we’ll leave to attend the funeral of Bishop David’s uncle who passed away just recently.   I think David was hesitant to ask me if I wanted to attend, but I can’t think of a more honorable thing to do.  It’s certainly more important than one afternoon at the college messing with computer equipment.


Other than the equipment shopping we did, it was a very relaxing day, which was helpful in adjusting to the time zone.   I spent the day with the Kodia family and absolutely loved it.   They have prepared a room for me to stay in tonight and tomorrow. After that I’ll spend some time staying at or near the college so I can get a lot of time working there on setting up the systems.   We also have plans to attend a wedding on Friday of one of the priests in the diocese and I’ve been ask to sing at the wedding.   Hmm?  Looking through my music now to pick out a good song for the occasion.   Really wise Cathy was here with me for this, but I’m sure I’ll manage with God’s help.  


Dinner is happening soon, so I’m going to sign off for the evening.    Thank you all for your continued prayers for the work I’m in involved in here.   I’m feeling the blessing of those every day.


B ill