Linux4africa on a new mission

After two years of Corona pandemic it was time for a new mission. There were still 13 old computers in the classroom of the St. Scholastic a School in Ruaraka, which had to be replaced. Unfortunately, Swiss Airlines has stopped the direct flight to Nairobi and Lufthansa took over the service from Frankfurt. But more about this later. In the months until the planned departure at the beginning of March Ecki Hiekisch, Michael Schmelzer and Werner Buchholz had tinkered intensively on the update for the server and adapted the installation routine. Michael had provided the hardware (24 mini computers, 4 servers as well as fiber optic cables with the appropriate switches). Werner had packed everything carefully. However we had to decide how best to get to Frankfurt Airport for the early departure, especially since one cannot rely on the train due to the ongoing strikes. So the decision was made to arrive by car the day before and stay overnight in a hotel.

We faced the big surprise at check-in, because one had to present a) a valid visa and b) a valid vaccination certificate. But since Michael Schmelzer assumed that he could buy the visa directly in Nairobi, he was not allowed to check-in, because this regulation no longer exists since 2021! He still tried to get an express visa, but this did not come in time – actually not faster than a “normal” e-visa. As a consequence, Michael’s flight was canceled without reimbursement, even the return flight!, and he had to buy a new ticket and came three days later.

At the airport, the “rest of the troop” was already welcomed at baggage claim by Sr. Lucy, who very helpfully guided us through customs about 2 ½ hours later. Outside the airport the travelers were met by Srs. Raphaela & Rita. And then, to our surprise, we were driven to the convent in about 30 min – normally it took more than an hour. Then, well after midnight and provided with a dinner (with beer, of course), the journey was completed.

The first working day was dedicated to the fiber optic cable, which had to be pulled from the server room into the teachers’ room via a cable duct. To our astonishment, it worked relatively quickly, especially since Werner had taken care of the necessary auxiliary cables. The following day, in the presence of Sr. Rita, who will be responsible for IT in the future, the first “client” was successfully installed very quickly. Given that speed, the entire installation should be completed more quickly than originally expected or feared.