Africa Hot

I made the comment when I first walked off of the plane that I now understood the saying I have heard all my life “Africa hot”.  It is truly the most humid environment I have ever experienced.  The best comparison I can think of is when you walk out of the air-conditioning at the beach right after it has rained.  For about 5 minutes you just sweat uncontrollably and then you start to acclimate.  It is like that except you do not acclimate and stop sweating, you just continue to sweat like a chicken under the hot lamps at KFC.  Thankfully we have AC in our room and in the server room so I can go there and cool off when the heat is too much.  I know I know, I am a sissy, but until you have experienced it, back off.  It is so hot and humid here that the fact we have no hot water is not a big deal.  I actually welcomed the freezing cold shower after all of the outside work we did yesterday.  From head to toe I was caked in mud, mortar, and sweat.   Being chubby on top of not being used to extreme heat and humidity is rough, but worth it.  We started yesterday finding out that we did not get the base for our satellite dish.  So we were going to have to fashion one out of what we could find.  The procurement guy here at the base called several places and was told there was not a 6 inch metal pipe in all of Liberia.  However, we decided to ride around and attempt to find on anyway.

The first place we stopped not even a half mile away had a twenty foot section of six inch pipe.  It was perfect for what we needed, even if we only needed half of it.  We had originally planned to purchase some PVC piping and fill it with a rebar restructure and concrete, but John and I both feared the dish would eventually work the pvc into cracking so we preferred a metal pipe and lo and behold we found one at our first stop.  The local building supply guy had his men unload the pipe, it was being used for storage, and load it onto our pickup and we brought it back.  Some of the local guys dug a hole 3 feet deep and 4 feet in diameter and we cut the pipe into a nine foot section.  We built some rebar rings to help strengthen the structure and hold the pipe level and started pouring concrete into the hole.  They guys were tremendously hard working and by shortly after five in the afternoon we had a pipe held upright and level with 4 feet of cement holding it in place.  Today the cement is still curing but by tomorrow morning we hope to get the dish, mounting hardware, and electronics put up so we can start testing the signal and getting everything tuned in and tested.  The new internet connection is a big part of why we are here.  They are currently getting 0.08 mb upload speeds here which makes sending emails a painful process, and work here gets done just like work in the rest of the world, by email.

Today we woke up without the cheerful sounds of AC running.  Much to our dismay the power was off in our little villa so we came on into the office and got the generator running with help from Buzz.  Once the street power came back on he switched us back.  Right now John and I are building the domain controllers for the new domain so we can provide better file servers and security controls for IT here in Liberia.  We also need a mechanism to push out updates and provide good anti-virus security.  All of that is much easier to accomplish with local file servers.  We are also going to work on making changes to secure their local lan and provide better firewall capabilities so that we leave it better than we found it.  Everyone here has been extremely helpful in making us feel welcome.  I will be excited tomorrow to get the new V-Sat up and running to see what a difference some more speed can make.

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