Monday, October 1, 2012

The Wonders of Technology

Monday 1st October

Yesterday at Our Lady of the Wayside church there were 19 children baptised during mass. Afterwards there was a celebration and I was invited to attend. I was happy to join the families in their meal. The children exchanged gifts and there was a little dancing and a few short speeches.

I had a bit of a rest before I had a succession of visitors. Hudson is a student at a local university studying social work. He has received some funds through the church scheme, which is supported by our church in Cheltenham. Although he has received some help this falls short of the fees and apparently he is struggling. (Another little issue for me to investigate.)

Luke came around and we talked a little about the usb modem and Skype. I had wanted Luke to act as a link in Monze to ease contact with my friends here. Our attempts at Skype were not wholly successful while I was in the UK, but I hope to sort everything before I leave. Luke has moved from the hospital and is now working at the District Office in Human Resources, which is the area for which he trained. He would like to adapt the Hospital HR database to use in his new post, so I will help him.

Diven had called earlier, but found me busy with others. He eventually joined me while I was playing a card game on the computer. He hadn't come across playing cards before but quickly picked up the idea of the game. While he was talking Dilys appeared on Skype.

It seems that Dilys always finds me with someone! She has spoken to Jennipher, Raymond and now Diven. Very often she really wants to see and talk to me alone – but it rarely happens here!

After supper I contacted her to say I was now alone and we connected via Skype. After a minute or two our Burmese priest friend Fr. Tino, currently studying in Italy, called me! We ended up cutting the videos and having a three way conversation between Zambia, Italy and the UK! The wonders of technology!

Dilys and I managed a little time on our own after 22 hrs.

This morning I met up with Eli who was involved with the PIZZ project when the UK team came to help with the building work. Today was the launch day for his library in Monze. For many years I have thought that it would be a good idea to have such a facility. Whenever I bring books they are eagerly sought after, to read once I have finished with them. I usually bring a few crime novels with me and these go down well. I couldn't find any new John Grisham books this year - I have read most, and so have my friends in Monze!!

I didn't examine the bookshelves carefully, but they are certainly well stacked. HHI has provided the room that is currently being used and Eli has been publicising the library around the town. He also wants to provide libraries to some of the surrounding villages. The idea is to allow people to take books to read within the library – at least at first. He also hopes to provide drawing materials for younger children, quizzes between school teams and even some sports equipment – e.g. footballs for older children. I hope he is successful – funds are always an issue, though I think that donations of books will be forthcoming. Erecting small structures in the villages might be more of a challenge. There is a small team running the project and they hope to establish a small business in town to fund day to day costs.

I caught up with Sr. Barbara and Vincent from the Diocesan Projects office this afternoon. Vincent is not using my database and has reverted to spreadsheets, as I had expected. A collapsed computer was at least in part the reason for not pressing forward with the database. I was aware how busy Vincent was last year whiloe I was here. In practice you need some time to be able to move to a new system and though in the long term you will release time, it is often safer to keep to the system you know. Vincent is enrolling in an Access database course later in the year and hopes to start using the database next year. I am now used to seeing my work on the computers fail to reach fruition. On the whole my time is better spent talking to people than playing with computer systems!
As I reached Teddy's office at the hospital, he was on his way out. I walked with him to the main road and then headed quickly to the Zamtel offices, having remembered that I promised Dilys that I would chase them. Arnold did his best to find someone to deal with my problem and after 30 minutes or more put me in touch with Ruben, who agreed to look into the issue. As I was leaving the office Ruben rang to tell me he thought it would now be OK. I must admit that I had my doubts. When I found that I could no longer send any texts, but just received an error message, my scepticism seemed to be justified – something seemed to have happened, although not positive. I tried to ring Ruben only to find I had no credit left!!

After topping up, great joy!! I can now text Dilys!! Apparently my calls are being routed differently – I am not sure how that explains the resolution of the issue, but as long as it works I am very happy!!

Bye for now


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