Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

With the assist…

It’s a simple day with two simple missions: find a cord to hook my iPod up to the car, and drop by the Enyanyeni school to fix up a couple more office PC’s. The iPod cord is just a two-ended headphone plug, but I’ve got no luck at the three places I drop by in the morning. I was hoping to have it for my drive out to the school, but time marches on and so I drive out tuneless.

At Enyanyeni I spend most of the day working on the main office PC. I’ve just about got it down to a science now. Here’s the process:

Step 1: physically break the security screw off the the machine by bending it back and forth until it fatigues and snaps.

Step 2: open the case and install a reset jumper to clear the BIOS password

Step 3: boot from custom CD to clear the Administrator password

Step 4: install MS Security Essentials, reboot into Safe Mode, and do a full virus scan

Step 5: replace any system files from CD that were killed in step 4

Once that’s all done (it can take a few hours), I head back to Dundee and find the wire I need for my iPod at the fifth place I try. The only wire they have is five meters long, but it’ll do the trick. I roll it up and stuff most of it under the radio. And now I’ve got tunes!

After a little writing at my place, Alan invites me over to meet with the young girl that the principal of Maceba has suggested for assistance this year. Her name is Celimpilo, and though she’s a bit shy with the camera, she’s friendly and well spoken in person.

We talk with her to get a sense of her commitment. She’s in her first year at university, studying biochem and living on campus at UKZN in Pietermaritzburg. It’s a huge change for her after growing up in the country. She says it’s been hard to get up to speed with the other kids, but she did learn some typing and basic computer skills on the Macs at Maceba which has helped. Her goal is to work in the medical research field.

We all agree that she’s a good candidate, and so we set her up with a laptop and a small stipend to help with living expenses, which I’ll pay. Alan and Donna already have four other students in progress on a similar setup, one who is graduating this year. She thanks us and Alan drops her off at the taxi rank to head back to school.

Later at dinner I find out that Simangaliso has kindly made us a loaf of traditional Zulu bread, called ujeqe. The “q” is pronounced by clucking the tongue, and it’s one of the harder Zulu words to say that I’ve come across. Yes, that’s my attempt.

But it’s not hard to eat! The loaf is steam cooked in a bowl, which results in a relatively moist and dense loaf that’s somewhere between the texture of focaccia and a dim-sum pork dumpling. I dig it, and we eat it with some roasted chicken and tomatoes.

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