Trying To Fix What Cannot Be Fixed

January 22, Day 540
Rise n’ shine. Get out of bed and go to take a bath, but I have no water again this morning. It’s been like this all week. Good thing I filled up the water storage containers.


Bucket bath, breakfast, pack lunch.

I have anxiety today. My media production class resumes tomorrow, and almost NONE of the computers work in the computer lab at the Brigade. They agreed to let me teach the class under the preface that they had a working computer lab.

They do not.

And the guy who works in IT promised he would download the editing software we need onto the computers.

He did not.

And he left to go to a “workshop” and isn’t in today.

So, it’s on me today to ride to the Brigade again and fix all of the computers. Otherwise, I can’t teach my class tomorrow.

Pack my bag and ride to the hospital to meet up with Nops, my counterpart for the media production class. Our arrangement is that I teach Nops all of the information, and then he teaches the class in Setswana.

Meet with Nops, and he says he can’t make it to class tomorrow. Okay, I guess I’ll teach it in English. Nops gives me his projector to use for the class, and I promise to return it. As I walk through the hospital, I run into Kesh and stop to chat with her a bit. She’s new to the village, so I like to check in with her and make sure she’s settling in okay. Run into OG, a friend of Nops. He tells me he has had bad headaches for a while and the doctors cannot figure out why. Poor guy.

Strap the projector to the back of my bicycle with a bunjee cord and ride to BOCAIP. As I am riding down the dirt road, Nops and OG drive by and beep the car and wave at me.

Check in with Baitshepi and see how her day is going. She says she will come to test for HIV at the Brigade next week so that my class can get tested. Cool!

Gather my things and ride my bike to the Brigade. It is hot, hot, hot today. I hope Nops’ projector doesn’t melt in the hot sun on the back of my bike.

Arrive at the Brigade partially dead and dehydrated. I walk into the computer lab and find it COMPLETELY torn apart. Apparently they started to clean it and unplugged all of the computers and didn’t put anything back together again or finish cleaning.

All that work I did to set up those computers has been undone.

Okay, we’ll start over again.

I start moving desks and chairs and plugging in the computers. The cords are all tied down to the computers so that no one can steal them, which is a great idea, but also prevents me from being able to plug all of them in as there are limited outlets in each area.

I brought my wifi box today so that I can download the media editing software onto the computers. The school doesn’t have wifi, so this solves that problem.

Try to download the software, but the computers are so old that they cannot connect to WiFi.

Um, okay.


Go and knock on the door of the office and a nice woman named Malagawe says I can use her computer, which is connected to cable internet, to download the software onto a memory stick. Then I’ll use that to install the software.

Her computer says it will take over an hour to download the software.


While I wait, I go back into the computer lab and go from computer to computer to assess if it can connect to the internet or diagnose the problem. Turns out all except for 3 computers is riddled with viruses and cannot connect to the internet.

Okay, so I have at least 10 students coming tomorrow. Looks like they’ll have to share computers.

In the meantime, I discover that the hot computer lab does have air conditioning but the remote they have doesn’t belong to the air conditioner. A man in the office says his phone has an app that can control the AC and he turns it on.

“Great! Will you also be in tomorrow to turn it on for the students in the class?” I ask.

“No, I will be out tomorrow at a workshop.”


“Okay… so is there someone else who has the app on their phone?”

“No, I am the only one. But I just won’t turn off the AC so that it runs all day tomorrow for you.”


Finally, the software downloads onto the memory stick. I plug it into the computer in the lab annnndddddddd… it doesn’t work. The file that downloaded was zipped and the computers don’t have the capability to unzip folders.

The ONE computer that does take the software requires a password. No one knows the password.


I call the IT guy at his “workshop” and ask for the password. He doesn’t know it and says he will call me back.

I am frustrated, to say the least. I was told someone in IT would download the software. I was told these computers worked. No one downloaded the software and now only TWO computers out of the 20 in this room can be used, and I can’t get the software to install on either one.

Malagawe comes to try to help, but we hit a dead end. She says she teaches ICT (Information and Computer Technology) here at the Brigade, but they don’t actually use computers to teach about computers.

I am very surprised to hear this and make a mental note that I could definitely help with the technology here. Perhaps we can partner after my class is done?

Ultimately, I decide to deal with what I have. I have two computers. THAT IS IT. I will somehow have to make 13 students share two computers to learn how to edit videos. I cannot force this anymore. I have to work with what’s here and stop trying to force this to go a way it doesn’t want to go. I can still teach the class without computers, it’s the knowledge that’s important.

I decide to ask my coworker at the DAC office, Chedza, if I can borrow her computer tomorrow. I can use the two in the lab, my laptop and Chedza’s laptop. Then I’ll have 4 computers for the class to share.

Thank all of the lovely folks at the Brigade and then ride to the DAC office. It’s about a 10 mile ride. I’ve ridden about 25 miles today and have NOT had enough water. I feel dizzy and sweaty and hot. But I know I can’t drink out of the tap or I’ll get sick. So, I hang on.

Bontle is in the DAC office and greets me. We talk about our day and how everything is going and I tell her about my frustrating morning at the Brigade.

Walk to Choppies and buy a Fanta orange soda and a chicken wrap. That soda will do me some good!

Back at the DAC, I find where Chedza is sitting and ask her if I can borrow her laptop tomorrow.

“Um, I think I have a meeting in the morning and need it. Let’s discuss it tomorrow,” she says.

MY HEAD WILL EXPLODE. The entire class depends on me having this laptop because it’s the only computer that will connect to the speakers, and I am showing an HIV movie.

But, I’m grateful for her help, so I don’t tell her that my heart is about to go into failure, and simply thank her.

Sit down in the DAC office and prepare for class tomorrow.

Baitshepi comes to collect some papers, and I tell her I’ll come back to work at BOCAIP on Friday. She says that’s cool.

Ride my bike home and stare into space on the couch.

Make couscous and peas for dinner.

Go outside with my shovel and scrape the weeds out of my front yard for a while.

Water the plants.

Watch “Grey’s Anatomy”.


Take a late night bucket bath.

Head to bed.

Boroko 🌛

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