Awasa, Ethiopia

I arrived tenser than usual. I think its better to assume the worst than hope for the best. Team morale is fluctuating like the power here. Although Ethiopia produces more power hydro-electrically than it consumes each year, it has been exporting increasingly more to its neighbours. Citizens in Southern Ethiopia have similar names for their politicians and political system as you may hear on the Luas about ours. The rivers are being diverted to the hydro-dams to increase the volume of throughput, yet the extra electrical units are not for local consumption. The result is dry river beds, rolling black outs based on an incomprehensible system of on/off/off/on/maybe/2nd weekend in the month off/ etc and a headache for teaching teachers using computers.

The team runs generators during the off hours and plan their curriculum’s around the on slots. The ratio of volunteers to teachers doesn’t favour the quantities of eager teachers here in Awasa who have signed up. The ICDL and networking team could stay indefinitely. They are split between two colleges, Debub and Zion Technical.

The team is split to take advantage of a good Perkins Diesel generator in Zion College and through fallout of the non-existent delegation in Debub.

The Debub College Principal has been absent with a broken leg, donkey related we were later told. Without him, it was extremely difficult to organise the required electrics for the room. It seems as though every organisation here has an architect of sorts. The head hauncho who arrives on-site and the masses perk up to look busy. If anybody has worked on a building site, the person holding the tube of drawings, immaculately clean hard hat and wellies from the boot of the S320 is top dog and if he/she barks, you better know what your doing.

It seems organisations here are like building sites in their approach to business employment. No deviation can be made to the regular day-to-day operations without that change communicated to and agreed upon by the architect. Unlike at home though, the architects here don’t leave many plans and there is nobody to lay the bricks for them in their absence. If they ain’t here, nothing new can be implemented and the employees follow only what they know. No site manager steps in and starts calling the shots. I can imagine a hotel manager asking for sandwiches to be made, falling ill and coming back after a month to find that only 5 were made as they ran out of butter. We have experienced this trend in hotels, colleges and even in our own hub.

The volunteers will train in both colleges until the end of this week before departing to the capital, Addis Ababa. All agree that the end of the month has crept up on them. Its reassuring for the cynics to hear that some of the team will stay on after the program has run its course to travel north of Addis and others are to explore Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. It is true that Africa gets into your blood. I can only say from experience that Murphy had to be an African and his laws drafted here. Its terribly frustrating and sometimes you can lose sight of the bigger picture as the issues of electrics and governance can temporarily blind you.

Heres some feedback that was collected, it has been written here exactly as it was received.

What was good?

Help me see parts of computer i only know by name
Like practical
Teachers know their material
Understand developed countries
Interesting because trainers work together
Qualifies trainers involves current technology
Surprising!, now i know secret of computes
Advanced from last year, keep it up.
Happy that we learn, even in no light
Learning  a bit more Linux
Great course to update knowledge & fix issues on our own labs when we
return to work

What needs to be improved?

Longer courses
We want OS on CD
Windows language
Course outline for town
One topic in lab rather than two
Best if tutors are from the same profession as students
Time is short
Local professionals in the class
More practical
We would like to learn about more network and databases

How will you use training received?

For future career and i will teach others
I will use my computer training in all aspects – to improve myself &
others in society
Replicate the course
Going to use it in my school
The course is better than expected, i will apply it in my school
Helps me teach my students
Start new enterprise
Direct relation to my profession