Spinning Plates

Posted: 7 May 2016 in Business Systems, Haiti, Understanding Others
Tags: , ,
QB Testing (1)

Will it connect?

It’s like spinning plates, in those old style circus shows. Here in the Hospital in Haiti, I am trying to get working one laptop as a file server, two desktops and two laptops as clients. Oooo – that’s five isn’t

it.  Something has gone wrong already? Or is that the laptop without a power adaptor.  You get the fourth plate up and spinning, and lo –one has fallen and crashed and another is badly wobbling


My current task here in Hopital Convention Baptise d’Haiti is to set up an accounting system working on a file server and three client computers.  But. And there are several buts.  The computers are of different: antiquities, login accounts, dicey drivers and with sundry crud on their hard disks.  Network cables- some work and some don’t seem to.  Internet is so dicey, but for some reason when it wobbles, it pulls down the local wi-fi. Power- the combination of solar and generators works well for the hospital.  But spikes and glitches crash the router, and kill off the desktop PCs that don’t have UPSs

QB Testing (2)

Is it really?

Three days work has taken 11 days work, and the task is still not done.  Setting up all this is a nightmare.  Why wasn’t all this sorted out before I came?  Why was the power adaptor for that laptop lost?  Why didn’t the Accounting System trainer test the connections? There has been a partial set-up, why wasn’t it documented?  Why was I asked to do this particular project – I am not familiar with this software, and the blithe assertion that it will be easy to pick this up is just… pants

But this is a crushing ego-centric perspective.  The language and cultural gaps are not only vast, even when you think you know and or understand what someone else is talking about, you discover they mean something else.  The responsibility for these things rests with so few national colleagues, who have so many other calls on their time.  Technical skills are not bad, but with this kind of operation “not bad” is sometimes just not enough.  Maybe, just maybe, I underestimated the complexity of what needed to be done.  And of course, as with under-resourced work like a charity hospital, we just have to wing-it, muddle through

QB Testing (4)


Let’s look at this differently.  As a spiritual experience. As St Paul said, “we see though a glass darkly”.

  • We plan, but our plans go up in smoke. Yet the welcome we get is warm.
  • The temptation to blame someone is large. Yet it is just that – a temptation from the forces of Darkness.
  • We are all muddling though the chaos of a fallen world. ”But Bill, God has a plan!” Yes, His plan is that I do not eviscerate someone this morning about missing Ethernet drivers. Or blame anyone for anything else for that matter.



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