I’ve now been in Uganda for about a week and a half, so it’s about time to make a blog post 🙂
First week in Uganda
The first week very busy, getting familiar with the MMU network, connecting the fibre, lots of troubleshooting and meeting many friendly people.
After about 8 hours of flying we arrived in Uganda. Getting through immigration took about 1 and a half hours for the whole group. Then we drove to Kampala where we spent our first night.
The following morning we left for Fort-Portal. The road to Fort-Portal is in a good condition but the amount of speed bumps is insane! After a 6 hour drive through the beautiful scenery we arrived at Fort-Portal.
Introduction to MMU
We’ve got a very warm welcome at Mountains of the Moon University.
After some speeches I got introduced to the local systems administrator Madjid. Wannes and Madjid introduced me to the infrastructure and setup and then we got started right away with troubleshooting (the Wi-Fi wasn’t working).
At noon we got some lunch, this was my first experience with the local food. The names are hard to recall but they do make a lot of dishes with bananas.
In the afternoon someone from RENU came by with a new router and to help to connect MMU to the fibre backbone. We weren’t able to get the link up using the router, but the L3 switch worked fine.
Fixing the fibre
On Tuesday we successfully configured the L3 switch and made the necessary changes to the firewall to get the maximum capacity out of the line. Thanks to the fibre MMU can now surf at 5 times the speed they used to get. They went from about 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps, which still isn’t fast compared to Belgian standards or what the fibre line is capable of but, it’s still a nice improvement.
Now that we’ve got the internet line established we can start connecting the other buildings on the campus with our LAN fibre. It turns out to be a bit more tricky than I thought.
The Wi-Fi still wasn’t working so that was also a priority on our list.
In the evening we got treated to a very nice and festive dinner at the Mountains of the Moon Hotel. The entire north team and MMU staff was invited to celebrate the successful project.
Wednesday was the big day of the fibre inauguration by Frederik D’hulster. We spent the day preparing everything for this big moment. About an hour before the start of the ceremony our internet connection suddenly dropped. We frantically started troubleshooting what could’ve gone wrong. When the ceremony was about to start we’ve got the unfortunate news that there was a break in the fibre cable, something that sadly can’t be mended in 30 minutes.
Nonetheless the fibre inauguration went smoothly and everyone was very happy and proud with the achievement.
In the evening we went to a restaurant where I tried some crocodile. I expected something special but it just tastes like chicken with a different texture. 🙂
On Thursday we went to the public health department and connected the fibre there. We spent the rest of the day troubleshooting.
At the end of the day there was the closing ceremony. Students got their certificates for participating the workshops and the north team got thanked with a gift from MMU. I got a nice dress shirt from the university which I still have to exchange for a different size because even an XXL is super tiny for me.
On Friday morning I went into town with Abid (our very helpful and friendly local guide) to get myself a local sim card. I also visited the town campus, in Kabundaire.
The afternoon was (again) spent troubleshooting, we made some good progress tough.
At night we went to the Africana bar to celebrate the end of the week and say goodbye to the rest of the north team.
I spent my first weekend relaxing and recovering. I slept in, did some shopping and took a nice refreshing swim in the pool of the nearby hotel. It’s very hot there, during the day it’s around 25 °C and even late at night you barely need a sweater. 🙂
I’m on my own now
The north team left on Saturday and they took Madjid (the systems administrator of MMU) with them. He will stay in Belgium for a semester and take some courses at Howest to up his skill level 🙂
That means I’m the most skilled IT-guy at the university now. Luckily I can still count on support from the north 🙂
I’ll have to divide my time between fixing, maintain and expanding the network and training the IT-staff so they can take over when I leave. There is a lot for them to learn but I’ll do my very best to be a good teacher.
This internship will be a big challenge but one I’m more than willing to take on. 🙂
Enjoy some pictures 🙂