It is finished

After many exchanges with the supplier and tests, we decided on a Dell monitor. All the hardware (monitor, keyboards and mice) was delivered and installed in the meantime. This was done quite quickly with the help of the 10-hands team – as was the installation and backup. The BIOS of some computers had been changed and no longer booted from the server – so this had to be corrected. All that’s left now is to check each individual computer again to make sure that all the installations are complete – then we’re done.

To pay the bill for the hardware, Michael Sr. went to his bank with Dan (supplier) and wanted to pay the money for the bill into his account using a debit card. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. In Kenya, most people pay either in cash or with MPensa (with a phone bill). So the priory in Karen has to transfer the amount and receives the balance on the EURO account from Germany.

While people in Germany are turning up the heating again because it has become cold and it is even snowing in the Alps, temperatures in Nairobi are around 25 degrees. However, there is also the typical April weather here, from strong sunshine to thunderstorms with torrential rain and flooding. Which made the already chaotic roads even worse. This also means that the power suddenly goes out and with it the internet. In any case, we hope to catch our plane home on Sunday in time to land safely in Zurich on Monday morning and then take the train to Constance. While Michael Sr. will be able to lie on his ear, Junior still has to drive his car to Teningen.

The project can therefore be regarded as having been completed with the support of the Linux4Afrika team for several years

Things are moving fast

After checking the network and installing the new server disks, we were able to start installing the software on the clients. However, we discovered that the BIOS of some of the computers had been changed and the device could no longer be booted from the network. So that had to be fixed. But then, with a few exceptions, the installation and backup went smoothly and quickly – Rita, Mike and Mark were a great help. Of course, the procedure also brought to light all the hardware errors, be it due to a defective screen, a broken mouse or a hot-running CPU. New circuit boards were brought along for the latter problem, which are now being installed.

In the meantime, the potential supplier for the new keyboards, screens and mice had submitted its offer. We discovered that the hardware purchased for testing did not match the list we had received from Ruaraka at the end of last year, which was a price difference of +50% and outside our budget. So we had to negotiate down again, which we had already managed to do with the price of the keyboards and mice. The only problem is the monitors, which have to have an HDMI connection and are therefore obviously more expensive. But we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The weather here is like in Germany in April, with the exception of major temperature fluctuations – sometimes the sun shines so intensely that Michael Jr. gets a slight sunburn, sometimes it pours with rain. But at least it doesn’t snow here.

On Sunday, Sr. Paula came by with the Masai blankets we had ordered in advance from Karen and happily accepted the Ovomaltine, the herbal liqueur from Beuron and the Swiss chocolate we had brought with us. Unfortunately, Sr. Rosa is not in Karen and is spending a well-deserved vacation at home – so we don’t need to go to Karen.

Together with Srs. Beatrice, Lucy and Rita we visited the Nairobi National Park; a welcome change from the computer screen. However, we quickly had to bury our hopes of seeing the famous “Big Five”, as the park is too small for elephants. And the lions, leopards and hippos had obviously retreated to a part of the park that we didn’t pass or passed at the wrong time. Or they had simply hidden because of the many tourists. But at least we were able to see a black rhino, for which the park is a protected area. And lots of Masai giraffes, wildebeest, zebras and many more. Due to the heavy rainfall of the last few days, the paths in the park were soaked and the bridges over the rivers were flooded. But our driver Evans got through everywhere with flying colors

Mission ’24 – New hardware and software for Ruaraka

Over the last few months, the three IT specialists Ecki, Michael Jr (Schmelzer) and Werner have been working on an update to the server software, also to make it easier to use the clients and to switch to English keyboards. Once the tests were completed to our satisfaction, we were able to start planning our trip for April 17-29.

The work to be carried out was more manageable than in previous years, so Werner decided not to travel to Kenya this time, but to act as a “Skype backup” together with Ecki, so Michael senior (Scholtz) and junior traveled to Nairobi together. This time they didn’t fly with Lufthansa from Frankfurt, but with Qatar Airlines from Zurich. This meant that we did not have to travel to Frankfurt the day before departure.

The service on board was very good and the luggage was not lost.

In Germany, the eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) as a successor to a visa could be obtained quickly and easily beforehand, which gave rise to the hope that the passport check would also be quick – but this was not the case. The check-in usually took 4 minutes per person and there were only two officials working for the numerous foreigners. This is tedious, especially if you arrive after midnight.

Then came customs. According to the pro forma invoice, we had brought hardware worth almost EUR 800, which normally requires import and VAT payments (around EUR 300), especially as Sr Lucy had not managed to get the exemption permit for donations in time. But apparently Michael Sr. Michael Sr. has the art of persuasion – we were allowed to move on without paying a single euro (or shilling). Srs. Margret-Mary, Lucy and Rita were waiting for us and so we drove to the convent and fell into bed after dinner and the obligatory beer.

The next day we went over to the school, past the new school building that was being built. The computer rooms were just as we had wanted them to be on our last visit; all the computers covered and the server room tidy. Tip-top.

In the meantime, the computers that had problems starting up are up and running again and the circuit boards of the devices that get hot during operation will be replaced in the next few days. The two new teachers, Mike Bwise and Mark Mogere, have already introduced themselves – much to the delight of Michael Jr. as they proved to be very knowledgeable and got straight to work.

The English keyboard and screen already purchased by Sr. Lucy work without any problems with our minis and we will buy the necessary number for the conversion in the next few days. In the evening, the “Sisters” were delighted with the video clips they had brought with them from Mainau and Hallelujah with Rae Garvey and Helene Fischer

Visit and training of Sr. Rita in Teningen/Germany

We invited Sr. Rita, IT-student, from Kenia to learn about Linux, our client-server-system and computers in general. She run through our course for 14 days from 5th December to 19th December 2023.

  • First we checked, what was still present at Sr. Rita form the last training. (more…)

Visit of the Sisters in Freiburg – following Days

The following days, Michael and the sisters visited Konstanz, Beuron, the island of flowers Mainau and made a tracking tour to Ebenalb.


Visit of the Sisters in Freiburg – Day 3

On Monday we made a boat-trip at the Titisee and visited the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen.


At aftrnoon we brought the sister to Michael in Konstanz.



Visit of the Sisters in Freiburg – Day 2

On Sunday we picked the sister up at the Günterstal convent and drove to Strassburg.


There we took a tourist-boat-trip and took some meal at Petite France.