Posts Tagged With: Lilongwe

#MalawiFloods and A to Z: L is for…

Preface: Malawi has suffered terrible, devastating floods over the past few of weeks – see #MalawiFloods. It’s now a humanitarian crisis with a huge impact for the future as well. So it requires our attention and help. Ryan Reynolds has tweeted a direct link to the fundraising campaign of an orphanage he visited in 2007. My friend Kathryn has written a vivid post about it here – please go read it to understand what it’s really like out there. You’ll also learn about the resilience and strength of the Malawian people to endure and carry on living, surviving. So, in an odd way, this quasi-humourous post is a dedication to them and their ability to carry on.

#MalawiFloods

#MalawiFloods

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Sorry for the long break from the last post. Even though I’ve chosen not to have a TV since returning from Malawi, I still find myself to be extremely time poor… maybe it’s just my overwhelming inefficiency at everything caused by a need to procrastinate! Anyway, I said that I would finish this A to Z before ending the blog, so here’s another step.

  • “L” is for, well, “R”?!

Malawians have a tendency to use L’s and R’s interchangeably, which can be confusing and sometimes have rather funny consequences. It’s a trait shared with many Chinese people, so it has extra resonance for me.

Long and “rong”
Late and rate
Lice and rice, fry and fly (which is also a simple playground game which every kid plays; it’s kind of like dodgeball)
Laugh and “raff”
A shop sign bearing: “Airwolrd” in Airtel‘s bright red colour scheme is a sight to behold. Lastry, elections can be a funny time for multiple reasons…

Come all and erect our leaders!

Come all and erect our leaders!

  • Lilongwe – The capital city and my home for 18 months.
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Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

LSPCA

A somewhat sad day today…

Recently, a stray female dog and her puppies seem to be have made friends with our guard dog Brownie. So they’ve been hanging round our house a lot. We even gave her a name: Cookie. Since we thought she was Brownie’s girlfriend.

A couple of days ago, our nightguard told us that one of her puppies was hit by a car. We thought it died the day after. But today, as I was sitting in the living room, I heard some noises from our garden which turned out to be Cookie and her puppy. We went to check on the puppy to find he was in a bad way.

So I called the LSPCA (Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals), not really expecting an answer because it’s a Saturday. To my surprise and relief, someone did answer!

I explain to them what happened and we took the puppy to the LSPCA office in Area 9 ourselves. I filled in a form and left it to the professionals for euthanasia, which was 100% the most humane thing to do.

Thank you @LSPCA.

Last Sunday, we hosted a food party in honour of Chinese New Year (31 Jan). There were lots and lots of food! Including plenty of leftover bones from the barbecued meats, which was shared amongst Brownie, Cookie and her puppy. So at least the little stray had a good feed before the accident.

LSPCA - Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals

LSPCA – Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals

Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A to Z: B is for…

  • Banda – As in Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi. Often referred to as “JB”.
  • BinguBingu wa Mutharika, the deceased previous President of the Republic of Malawi, who JB succeeded under some controversy. The BICC (Bingu International Conference Centre) is very near our house in Area 11 of Lilongwe.
  • Blantyre – Commonly acknowledged as the commercial and industrial capital of Malawi. I’ve been there a few times and it is quite nice. More compact and feels more like a proper city which you can walk around, compared to Lilongwe.
  • The BOBs – The Bishop Mackenzie Old Boys football team, who I play for semi-regularly on Saturday mornings. Bishop Mackenzie International School is one of the top schools in Lilongwe, or even Malawi. More football related posts here.
  • Boma – Small town or trading centre e.g. Nsanje Boma. A funny myth is that boma is an acronym for British Overseas Management Administration.
Photo of JB on the wall of most government offices, including the Ministry of Health.

Photo of JB on the wall of most government offices, including the Ministry of Health.

Bingu International Convention Centre

Bingu International Convention Centre

The Auditorium

The Auditorium

Me... posing on the podium

Me… posing on the podium

Categories: Malawi, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New Server at CHSU Datacentre

Just before Christmas, we reached a major milestone in our iHRIS Malawi project. We installed our new USAID funded HP ProLiant server at the CHSU Datacentre!

CHSU (Community Health Sciences Unit) is a satellite office of the Ministry of Health Headquarters. Based in Area 3 of Lilongwe. “Community health” in this case means HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, which workers in each of the two office buildings specialise in. It’s quite a nice office and has the closest thing to a proper datacentre, which we’ve seen in Malawi; “a single rack cabinet in an air conditioned room (not common out here) with a backup generator that broke down two years ago!” – From my colleague Oli’s blog.

None of us on the team are server engineers or technicians but the installation went fine. There were a few funny moments. Including a dropped screw, several trips over (different) loose cables and a power cut which resulted in total darkness.

Right now, we’re in the process of finalising our go-live weekend (1-2 February), when we will switch over from our temporary server, based at the Kamuzu College of Nursing, to the new CHSU server.

Similar to the MoH Computer Room tidy up exercise we did also just before Christmas, we are planning to tidy up this datacentre too. First we need to call a meeting to speak with the other projects who use the facility and agree on a way forward. The grandly titled CHSU Datacentre Strategy Meeting! Another thing on the long to-do list.

VSO & MoH delivery service

VSO & MoH delivery service

RTFM!

RTFM!

Figuring out what's where

Figuring out what’s where

Search for dropped screw

Search for dropped screw

Power cut!

Power cut!

Self-assembly complete. No tools required.

Self-assembly complete. No tools required.

It lives!

It lives!

Categories: Healthcare, Malawi, Technology, Volunteering, VSO, Work | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Lilongwe Chat is dead…

Long live Lilongwe Chat!

I say this because the original, one-and-only Google Group has been shut down. It was apparently reported for illegal content recently and Google promptly suspended the group. Of course, that was never going to be the end of it. The administrators have set up a new Yahoo Group.

If you’re not a Yahoo user already, it’s a bit of a hassle to have to create a new login or link it to your Facebook or Google account. But it’s a relatively small price to pay to find that desperately needed BREAST PUMP.

In any case, don’t worry because Best of Lilongwe Chat is still up and running. No signing in required 🙂

I’m especially looking forward to another SIGNS OF CLIMATE CHANGE weather forecast for January!

Banned Content Warning!

The wrath of Google

Categories: Malawi, Technology, Volunteering, VSO | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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