It’s not easy to get a website up and running from rural Africa… nearly four weeks in and I’ve finally managed to create something that feels like a good representation of me and my experiences so far. My goal was to start a blog using Africa as the jump off point, so here we go!
I started from scratch using WordPress, hoping that it would be intuitive. Not so much. At least not for somebody who envisioned more than a generic blog page but has never done a shred of website building before. YouTube tutorials and Google searches helped, but there was a lot of individual customization that required a trial and error process to figure out. This means you edit the page, update and publish it, wait and wait and wait for it to reload, and see how it looks. Then do it again. And again. Until you understand how the options function and are satisfied with how the page looks and works.
Then there’s the issue of internet. You have to be very deliberate about getting access. My two options are to use my USB modem that I have to reload with data or to use the Wi-Fi at the café. Neither method is exactly high-capacity, high-speed access. (Check out the full discussion of my internet and communication experiences.)
I’ve also been limited by lack of a decent camera. A cell phone camera only gets you so far, and severely constrains you when you want the brilliant colors and depth that come from manual settings you can control. I considered investing in a nice DSLR before my trip, but decided that expense was not one that I wanted to pile onto my summer. Fortunately, the organization I work with in Uganda provided me a nice, compact Sony DSLR about two weeks into my time here. It’s a substantial step up from the cell phone and I’m starting to get comfortable using it. One thing that I’d still really love to have is a tripod.
Finally, taking the pictures is its own challenge because you can’t exactly walk down the street snapping away, much less setting up a specific shot. This is because: A) Someone would probably snatch the camera and motorcycle away with it, and B) The gen pop doesn’t look too kindly on mzungus snapping souvenir photos of them. So the pictures have to be thoughtfully timed and taken in the appropriate context. Or you make sure there are no people around.
I have many ideas for blog content—but I’m in Africa! Meaning, I’m going to focus my thoughts and writing on things relevant to what I’m experiencing right now. Over time, I want to grow the blog to include each of the ingredients necessary to live fully with depth of heart, richness of soul, sharpness of mind, and strength and health of body. So hang with me. Enjoy Africa and we’ll catch up on more later.