Thursday, 14 May 2015

Malawi and the end of a project

It was back to Malawi to do the final decommissioning of the server rooms and I.T. side of the various site offices we had in Malawi for a Railway project my company was involved in.

This basically meant the final backup of all the data off the servers, then shutting them down, packaging them up and shipping it all back to our Head Office in South Africa.

So it was a journey round the final 2 site offices and consolidate all the equipment at one office and do the backups - a long slow mind numbing job watching data copy off the servers onto external NAS drives (Network Attached Storage - for those of you interested in I.T) and then returning to South Africa with the data while the rest of the equipment following behind - a task that took many months due to incompetent customs bureaucracy.

Chileka Airport Blantyre

First site office

Accommodations being demolished 

Foundations of demolished accommodations

Hill outside of the camp

First Site Office
Server before shutdown and packing

80 km of road to the next camp

Section of the railway line

Malawi bush

Baobab tree

Office at the second camp on my route 
Accommodations at the next camp

My Bungalow

View into the camp from accommodations


My palatial bungalow

Corridor to my bungalow

My "office" for 18 hours a day for nearly a week 

The highlight of my day was the meal times, this was not due to the fact that the food was so gastronomically excellent, it was a time to get away from my desk and do something different.

My equipment is packed and i'm ready to go......

What remained on site for the final close out - three data centers reduced to a couple of NAS drives 

And now for a public services announcement:


If any of you, dear readers, ever get the quaint idea to travel in Africa, and by this I don't mean South Africa, speak to your Doctor or travel clinic about Malaria.

During the project 2 of our staff got malaria and died, but that was not during my time there. 
While I was there one of the staff got infected and I was treated at 2am in the morning to a first hand view of the effects of malaria, the fever and hallucinations the chap endured right through the night before I could get him medical attention. 
Now you may ask why didn't I get him medical attention immediately - well we were nearly 100 kilometers out in the bush and the medical staff on duty were not available by phone, and the roads are far too dangerous for driving at night, so we sat it out until the following morning, with him alternately babbling, sweating and shivering .
He spent a couple of days in the clinic on a drip, and thankfully survived the ordeal.

Rule Number 1: Take your malaria tablets, use a bug repellant ALL DAY, sleep under a mosquito net at night.
Rule Number 2: Take your malaria tablets, use a bug repellant ALL DAY, sleep under a mosquito net at night.
Rule Number 3: Take your malaria tablets, use a bug repellant ALL DAY, sleep under a mosquito net at night.
Rule Number 4: If Rules 1 - 3 don't apply then ..... Take your malaria tablets, use a bug repellant ALL DAY, sleep under a mosquito net at night. 

Before long it was back on the road to blantyre.
The road out at the end of the job

Small shops and villages en route

Back onto the main road to Blantyre

Following this sojourn out in the bush, which I have to say was remarkably reminiscent of my years doing military service, I returned to Blantyre to lay over for a night before heading back to South Africa.
I was dreaming about the nice bed and dinner I was going to experience at my favorite Malawi hotel the Mount Soche Hotel, but it was sadly not to be, I was lodged in a B&B.
I won't go into too much detail on this suffice it to say it was probably the most awful experiences of my life as the below photo's will attest, needless to say it will be a proverbial cold day in hell before I go back there.

Bed with Mosquito net

My bed BEFORE I slept in it!!

Window latch Africa style

Mosquito net

Plush deep pile carpet

Latch on my door - Do they get a lot of break in's??

Couch to relax on

More deep pile plush carpet

Stairs to my room

Stairs to the dining room

Driveway in to the property

Path to a restaurant that wasn't open

Path to my room

Guest area
Front of the B&B

Road outside

Front gate

And finally it was back in the air and homeward bound.

And so too did this phase of my working life end, the project is finished, our offices are shut down, the equipment is back in South Africa, and it is ever onward to new adventures.

1 comment:

  1. Why do they dismantle accommodation when the project is done? Surely the locals could use it? Seems a bit wasteful...