Friday, March 14, 2008

Adpating local technology for local solutions

For weeks now the lock on the bathroom door at the Ministry had been spoiled and could not be locked. Using the bathroom had become a activity couched in stealth and swiftness. A sudden puff of air or an ill timed trip could result in untold embarrassment.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone had placed a nail on the back of the door so one could secure themselves inside.

Local technology adapted for a local situation and of course common sense. Reminded me of another experience I had on the issue of local technology, local situation - though in this case I am questioning the common sense. See e-mail thread and come to your own conclusions.

  • E-mail from me to colleagues (names changed!):

There are few things that faze me working here at the Ministry in Ghana – many things that get me upset, but few that faze me. I was totally fazed yesterday. I simply must share this.

Ok, so some of you - especially A. and R. - may know that we have a rodent problem. The offices, especially ours - or so it seems - are infested and they have been wreaking havoc on the IT infrastructure especially where there are cables. So after raising the issue several times with the esteemed Coordinator for the (Unit I work in) , including suggesting that we ask Estate Services to have the buildings exterminated, single-handedly decided to solve the issue. He brought a cat to work. I kid you not. A real live cat. Divine inspiration? IT maintenance and support? Unorthodox problem solving technique using personal initiative? Still trying to figure out the classification I should use for this.

Apart from K. and I, no one else seems surprised by this and yesterday when I was leaving office the cat already had a sand box, food and water laid out for it. Hmmm. So there, the latest addition to the staff in the Unit. Am not sure if it will survive the night as the rats may actually kill the poor thing. Am even more worried what we will be confronted with if it kills them. Enough said.

So that will be one more thing added to my job description as CPF – pet handler. NOT!

Am thanking God that today is really Friday. As usual, it’s been too long a week.

Have a great weekend,


  • Response 1

Oh come on Denise – an innovative solution using local resources within an affordable framework – and you haven’t even told us the new addition name – maybe you could send us a picture – the little one sounds so cute!



  • Response 2

And R. we must treat with much more respect for being so innovative and ACTED! Shows new sides we hadn’t discovered before!


  • Response 3


I almost cracked my ribs this evening upon reading this and some of the responses! This is ingenuity of a whole new level. And I keep thinking… it might work… it might work! But then, I think again: how does your new colleague get from office to office (I remember the office doors are mostly closed because of heat or air-conditioning) chasing the rodents? Or get into the cable trunks and ducts? Or into the ceiling? Or are you going to hire/ acquire one for every office? Or conduct extensive training on opening doors etc or perhaps this was divine inspiration (or intervention depending on how you look at it) and so everything will be ok?

I sure do look forward to seeing you soon Denise! Just hang in there meanwhile!


A no 2.

  • My update

Cisco, as he has been duly christened is fine, or so it seems. He is not a very social colleague and seems to prefer working alone and at odd hours.

I must admit the mice have disappeared – the one chewing on the outside of my drawer has been missing in action and my drawer has shown no further sign of being eaten. There has also been no sound of the mice in the wall behind my desk for the past couple of days. Hmmm.

Be prepared, we will request some support for Cisco later to see if and how we will deploy our low(est) tech solution.

Kind regards


  • Response 4

Denise, these are very significant observations – keep tracking the impact of Cisco’s presence – seriously in the light of A.’s highlighting of the new hot topics on the ICT agenda re ‘carbon neutrality’ and ‘zero carbon’ – I feel there is a paper to be had from Cisco yet…


Alas, alas, a couple days after these e-mails CISCO disappeared! The mice/rats are back - with a vengeance. I hope for his sake he managed to make good his escape as the other options seem a bit too brutal.


Nana Yaw A said...

I've been reading your blog for a week now, and I think you have a great mind, though I confess there seems to be a certain history or background to you that needs knowing to understand fully what you're saying.

Denise said...

Hi Nana Yaw, glad to know you are visiting and liking it so far. Any questions you have don't hesitate to ask - won't promise to answer all but yes, will try to give a bit more insight.
Of course am going to go and check out your blog too!