I've worked on a LOT of different project with Earth Enable and am very proud of what my team and I have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.
I've been designing a service from beginning to end for Earth Enable's new market-driven, reduced cost product called "Ishema." Designing the service from top to bottom has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I'd wanted to dip my toe into service design, and I've had a fantastic time filling in the gaps, working with our customers, and strategizing how best to provide the service for our customers.
I've also been able to put my software project management skills to work by designing a digital platform as an integral part of the Ishema service. The platform is USSD - a common digital solution used on feature phones (Remember Nokia bar phones? Right, those.) in East Africa.
I thought I was ready to walk away from the world of software, but taking this project from concept, through design and testing and now to business requirements and development has reminded me how much I enjoy being in the driver's seat with software development projects.
On the Daily
The rainy season has arrived! Flooding my morning commute and providing me the opportunity to get closer to everyone else hiding from the torrents that fall from the sky on a regular basis. Fortunately, the rain doesn't fall as often as my colleagues had predicted it would. We'll get rain two days in a row for a few hours. The periods of rain are followed by three or four days in a row of warm sunshine and gorgeous skies.
I wrote the majority of this newsletter seated under a thatched umbrella atop one of the gorgeous hill-islands of lake Bunyonyi. Megan and I spent the majority of our time here reading, playing cards, and enjoying as much undisturbed relaxation as is humanly possible. Each day after a lengthy breakfast that could only be described as slothful, we made our way to the lake for a swim.
On our first visit to the lake, we were both hesitant to jump in - uncertain of the lake's temperature and its depth. Each of us attempted to convince the other to go first. But upon noticing a hornets nest on the dock, our reluctance evaporated. We both cannonballed into the cold water and made our way to a floating dock about 50 feet from shore. We rested there for a bit, plotting our strategy for getting back to the main dock without a running with the hornets. While we once again lazily and unconvincingly tried to get the other to go first, we began to notice the wasps had made their way to our floating perch. And upon investigation, found an even larger nest surrounded by far more wasps than we had originally escaped.
"Brace yourself, Megan, I'm going first!" She crouched to brace herself for the recoiling of the dock as I leapt off. By the time I surfaced she was already in the water and breast stroking past me. She made it to the ladder and out of the water faster than I thought possible.
The next day, we found a rope swing. The largest rope swing I've ever seen. Megan played photographer while I repeatedly tespted the rope's structural integrity. I'm happy to report that it held up for 6 or 7 goes.
It was a month of exploring Rwanda's natural beauty. After returning from Uganda, Megan and I headed to Akagera game park, where we stayed in a luxury tent from which we could watch the sun set and the moon rise through a view that was so gorgeous, it looked like the set of a play. Even better? We could hear the sounds of hippos grazing less than ten feet from our patio.
I also visited an exploding lake (Lake Kivu) with my housemates Colin and Eloise. The lake is gorgeous, but apparently dangerous. It is one of two lakes in the world that has a natural source of Methane gas underneath it and can literally explode if the flow of gas gets too strong. A (slightly) less dramatic possibility is that the seeping of Methane out of the lake could kill everyone within ten miles of shore. I felt very brave walking the lake's beaches, constantly looking for signs of an impending explosion and sniffing the air for unexpected odors. :)