Life has been a bit weird this week, but the feeling of life just carrying on is there. Most significant was the death and funeral of a Kovol newborn. It’s so strange how such a tragic, permanent and sad event is life-changing and yet things carry on as normal.

A funeral

2 weeks ago a lady in our village gave birth. The birth itself was a little worrisome with the mother being sick (possibly with malaria) during delivery and the community was very worried. We were glad to breathe a sigh of relief with them when in the morning we heard a baby had been delivered. That couple’s first child was a daughter.

Unfortunately, it seems that the little one had a blockage, it never defecated and 2 weeks later she passed on. The wailing is heartbreaking to hear, and the burial is always within a day or two. I was able to help with the construction of a coffin, but couldn’t stay for the whole day. The rain came and delayed the digging and then I had to go home to prepare for our Friday game night. Every week we do party games on Friday night with our children where they win little sweets and chocolates and this week Louis and Timon were joining us. All the children had been talking about it all week. 30 minutes after leaving and hiking up I had to put it all out of my mind to switch to high-energy laughing and silly games. Life goes on. Writing now I realise how quickly all that left my mind to carry on with my weekly activities.

Making the coffin

Battery woes

The weekend was a freezing cold rainy one. We had 2 days of solid rain and cloud, leaving our house batteries saying “critical state of charge” at 40% charge – drama queens. No spare electricity for running our washing machine, so laundry is piled up, but as long as it isn’t 3 days in a row of no sun we should manage. Any longer and no matter how well we ration power we’ll struggle to keep our fridge and freezer going. We’d have to plug our houses into our generator and burn fuel to get a little charging done. Monday was a scorching hot day though so it all worked out.

Termites be gone

After removing the huge termite nest living in our wall and spraying daily with permethrin, it’s looking like they’ve gone. The panels have been off the wall all week and it’s been novel to have a hole in the wall, but today was the day to reattach the plywood panelling and put the shelf up. It’s not that noteworthy really, but it’s hours spent with hammer and nails that aren’t spent in language learning. Just giving you all a flavour of life out here.

The scars left from the termite nest

Playtime, nearly all the time

Oscar has been feeling a little sad this week. The Stous family left for a week and a half to get passports renewed and Oscar has been missing his friends. On the positive side though he’s been playing lots more with the Hansen children and play time between them is starting to click. The latest game involves my chasing them around outside and when I get near they whack me with sticks, with the most glee being found by hitting me on the bottom.
It’s really good having friends so close for our children. There aren’t many places to visit or explore out here, but everyday friends are only 15m away and Oscar and Louis and Timon spend hours running around together every day.

Running away!

Alice and Millie are getting to the age where they’re convinced they can do everything. The word they shout is “meetabaa” (They made it up, it isn’t Kovol) which means “don’t help me, I can do this!”. Unfortunately, it’s not quite true though and after refusing my hand to walk down our stairs Alice fell down them. My initial grab with my hands missed, but I managed to pin her face to the 3rd step down with the bottom of my foot, stopping her from going the rest of the way. Oops!


What’s also fun is that Alice and Millie are calling names now. There’s “Osa” their brother, “Meeya” (Alice’s word for Millie) and “Alice” (Millie’s got it, but Alice refers to herself as meetabaa). It brings a smile to my face hearing them running around the house all day calling out to each other. I realised the other day that the longest they have ever been apart is an hour and half one time we carried Millie to a village for language and Alice stayed with the Stous family. Twins are fun.

Oscar doing his thing

Office in a browser

And finally tacking on some nerdy news at the end we found a solution to a sync problem. We use Nextcloud to sync our team files between all our computers. It’s been working well, but now we’re finding that we’re needing to edit the same files at the same time. Our dictionary spreadsheet for example during work time can have all 3 of us trying to update it at the same time, producing sync conflicts and sometimes overwriting each other.

If I keep going I’ll end up with a data centre here!

I decided to test out the Office feature that Nextcloud has. You can run an office suite in a browser window and then you can work in real-time on the same documents through your browser, even watching what people type in real-time. We hadn’t tried this before because our server is a raspberry pi and we’re already asking quite a bit from it.
The solution of course was a 2nd raspberry pi 🙂 I have some spare ones around in case the one we have fails. So now we have one running our Nextcloud and web server and a second running a Collabora office service. The Nextcloud server offloads office requests to the 2nd server and we can split the workload, and so far it’s working great!
After the weekend power shortage, I also set it up so the new server and also our house’s wifi is on a timer so it isn’t on all night. Fancy. It’s dangerous having half work-related half-hobby tinkering tasks to do, it can be a real-time sink if you let it! This was a problem that needed solving though. An added bonus is that we can pull data from our lexicon into this office suite to have a built-in Kovol spellcheck.

Office in a browser 🙂

1 Comment

Gill Watson · 29/06/2023 at 8:51 pm

Thanks Steve always good to read your news ( don’t understand the tech. stuff but it’s good that you know what you’re doing! ) Life is hard for the Kovol people, they need to know the Saviour. May God bless you all out there. Love to read about the children!

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