Archive for October, 2007

Open Source Software Workshop (Mark)

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Last week I was flown to Nairobi for an Open Source Software Workshop. Very interesting time! For most of you I won’t bore you with the things that we discussed, but I met a lot of interesting people from all over Africa. Here are a couple of pictures from the conference.

Here I’m “SpeedGeeking”. If any of you have heard of SpeedDating (click on the link to Wikipedia for more info) it’s based on that. 7 attendees volunteered to talk about their project. They all sat at different tables and then the rest of the attendees divided up amongst the seven tables. Each presenter had 7 minutes to present. At the end of 7 minutes everyone rotated and it started all over. At the last minute I decided to present the SmartQuiz HIV/AIDS application we wrote. It gets your presentation skills honed real quick to present something 7 times in one hour. Anyway people liked the application and several asked to use it for other projects in their countries.

Below is a group shot of almost all of the attendees from the conference. There were folks from South Africa, U.S.A, Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana. Here’s a quick list of some of the best things from the conference:

  1. Learning about sustainable Open Source Business models. Basically we talked about how can you make money with Open Source Software.
  2. Meeting all of these interesting people and the projects they are working on
  3. Interesting ideas for Africa: Mobile Development Platform for all of Africa and Open Source Software Development for African developers

Anyway, that’s all for now.

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Just like a Sunday in Seattle

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Last Sunday we took the day off completely and spent the day in pretty much the same way we would if we were in Seattle on a summer day. I’ve been itching to go for a hike, so we set out on public transportation to try and get as close to the trailhead as possible. Fortunately we were able to get with 1 km and didn’t have to walk too much further. Our destination was Lion’s head, a rocky peak ontop of a hill in the middle of the city. Our apartment is located at the base of Signal hill (formerly known as lion’s rump) and to the South, along the “lions body” you’ll find lion’s head. The views from the top were spectacular. We could see all of the neighborhoods around Cape Town, the top of Table Mountain, and we even got to watch a kayak race! After returning to the base we walked into Camps Bay, a sea-side neighborhood. There we had smoothies and sat on the beach for a bit before catching a bus home. We finished out the day by having dinner at local Chinese food restaurant…it was good but it didn’t hold a candle to Shanghai Garden!

This week its back to work…I’m in Cape Town but Mark flew out this morning for Nairobi to attend a conference with the NGO we were with in Kenya. Should be interesting…more later!
Looking down onto Seapoint from Lion’s head.Looking North ..the 12 apostles (an extension of table mountain) can be seen extending into the distance.A view of Signal hill from Lion’s head.

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Aquatic Animals (Mark)

Thursday, October 18th, 2007
Service Announcement: Now that we aren’t volunteering in Kenya anymore, our life may not be so interesting to you, it’s ok we’re not hurt. For those of you that are on our email list, I thought I would just let you know that you don’t have to stay on it, if at any time you want to unsubscribe there’s a link at the bottom you can click which will prompt you to send an email to a specific email. OR you can just email us and we can remove you. Now back to our previously scheduled program …….

Last weekend was themed, Aquatic Animal Weekend. Now many of you know that back home I slept, ate, and breathed fly fishing … or at least as much as one could and still pay the bills, do chores around the house, see family, keep a job, not need counseling etc. While in Kenya lack of transportation and equipment kept us from really being able to do any fly fishing, so when we got to Cape Town I started to do some research on fishing. This last weekend I tracked down a dam (The cape is full of man made lakes they call dams) that rented rods and the four of us headed out to do some fly fishing.

Sam took this picture of us fishing in the dam.

This is a picture of Bebeth bringing in one of two fish she caught that day.

The next day we headed out to an area called Hermanus. Currently whales are migrating from somewhere to Hermanus. The weather wasn’t very good (aka rain) and the whole town of Hermanus was out of power for some reason.

Here everyone is crowding into one of the few resturants able to cook without electricy.

Despite these few setbacks we were determined to see some whales.

And see we did! The second picture is a whale that played maybe 50 ft off the shore line.
And of course no trip out is possible without witnessing some sort of floral beauty.


Last but not least we have posted some more photos from our travels in South Africa you can check them out by visiting this link:

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And now she’s gone….(Bebeth)

Friday, October 5th, 2007

After spending almost 2 months with us, Courtney left last Tuesday morning to begin the next chapter in her adventure…in Tanzania. We had a great 3 weeks in Cape Town, especially the last week which was filled with lots of great activities.

First we went to Robben Island, home of the political prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. We toured the island which has been used for a variety of things over the years and then were given a tour of the prison by a previous inmate. I only have the most basic knowledge about South African history, but it was very interesting none-the-less. On a non-historical note, we got a spectacular view of the city from the island.Courtney and Mark thought the view was so amazing they even decided to do a little dance.
That weekend Courtney found a concert for us to go to in wine country. The flowers were blooming and we were treated to great weather. We left Saturday morning and spent the afternoon sitting next to a lake listening to music. That night we bundled up and danced on hay bales while listening to reggae. Unfortunately the wind was REALLY strong and on our walk back to the campground we saw a number of tents fly away!
On Courtney’s last day we went to Stellenbosch to do some wine and olive tasting. We began at a combination winery/yarn shop and had lunch while choosing yarn and tasting wine. The area is so beautiful…rolling hills, vineyards, flowers and a perfectly sunny day doesn’t hurt! I have to admit that the landscape is about as different from the traditional American vision of “Africa”, but it couldn’t be more gorgeous!After all that, its been back to work, and we’ve been swamped…but right now that’s a good thing!

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