It feels like 115° F in the sun – without a hint of a breeze
Letter from Mozambique! Marlon Bachmann, an apprentice IT specialist, is building a campus network at an African teacher training college.
Oct 20, 2015
After an 18-hour trip with stops in Frankfurt and Addis Ababa, my two colleagues and I arrived in Maputo. When we came out of the airport with our project manager and went to the car, it was like hitting a wall of heat. It felt like 115°F in the sun – without a hint of a breeze.
After we arrived at the Instituto Industrial de Maputo, a major industrial and technical vocational school in the capital city, we were introduced to a few of our co-workers. They were all very friendly and laughed a lot and said that they were happy the MoçamBIT project was moving into the next round. We are namely supposed to plan and install a campus network at a technical college here within two weeks. To do this, we need to configure and set up “access points,” which are used to wirelessly connect items such as desktop or laptop computers to a network or the Internet. We also have to install a network policy server on the Windows server to control user authentication for the campus network.
After the introductions, we drove to the hotel. We all just wanted to crawl into bed after the long flight. But when we arrived, we found our rooms still occupied. After some discussion, we found a spot at a nearby guesthouse, where we will stay for the first week. My first impression is that there is a lot of improvisation going on, and that not everything goes according to plan.
Starting from the Beginning
The next day, we were at the Dom Bosco teacher training institute, which is managed by a Spanish ecclesiastical order and is one of the best training institutions in Mozambique for students seeking a teaching credential. When we arrived, we found the current administrator and his assistant already waiting eagerly for us. Our predecessors, apprentices from Strato AG, which is located in Berlin, had already started a number of administrative projects. Among other things, they planned and set up the network infrastructure for the institute. Unfortunately, it turned out that after they left, a lot of their work was inadvertently destroyed. That meant we had to start over again, re-wiring the servers, configuring the VLANs (virtual networks) correctly and moving the institute’s website to a new IP address because the provider had changed.
Our workplace at the Dom Bosco teacher training institute is the server room. I noticed that here, unlike at the Instituto Industrial de Maputo, everything is very clean and tidy. The head of the Instituto superior Dom Bosco, Padre José, gave us a very warm welcome and explained that he was confident that we would get the technical issues under control.
When we took a look at the server, we noticed once again that a great deal of improvisation was evidently needed here. Everything was connected haphazardly and set up without any particular structure, apparently with the idea that the main thing was for it to work. When I asked for a LAN cable later on, the one I was given was too short. Then, when I asked for a longer one, I was given another short one. The administrator wanted to crimp the two cables together, connecting the wiring in both LAN cables – which didn’t work, of course.
My colleagues and I are very curious to see what awaits us in the next few days. We will try to do our best, whatever the conditions may be.
MoçamBIT is an apprenticeship project launched by apprentices from Strato AG, in Berlin, five years ago. Since Strato AG did not have any apprentices who could be sent to Mozambique this year, the company approached the vocational training association afib, a partner of Freie Universität Berlin. MoçamBIT is currently being implemented for the fifth time; the program is scheduled to run for the long term.
In our campus.leben series "Letters from ..." six students, two doctoral candidates, and an apprentice are reporting on their experiences abroad. Here we introduced the nine travelers.