Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sloop John B

I've been here a month in Malawi. That means a month of blogging daily. Upon returning to the USA I may consider making my blog posts more topic oriented. But, I may also discard that thought in favor of writing the blogging equivalent to finnegan's wake. I plan to continue subverting tag etiquette. Today is my first day using blogger spell check. I really love it. Blogger spell check highlights all misspelled words in your document and allows you to edit at your leisure. I prefer this to the serial spell check of all word processing programs.

RapidSMS Malawi
I have a beta cut of the new Malawi RapidSMS Malnutrition app. We demoed to the Ministry of Health yesterday, who were very pleased with the project. Yesterday, I updated the server with django and related apps. I am having problems using git on the Malawi server because of some firewall issue. I am considering blowing away the .bashrc and .bash_profile files because they set display commands that make it impossible to use sftp.

But enough jargon. The project is wildly successful. I am thoroughly exhausted. Tonight it is is Shona's last night in Lilongwe, so we are going to party over at diplomats. But first I am going to gorge myself on pasta since I finally have cash again after being near destitute for 4 days.

Thursday I go to the field for more training and HSA visits. I was supposed to go to Mzuzu today-Thurs to hold a mini bar camp at Mzuzu University. This was canceled when Stanley came back from vacation and decided to plan a field visit for Thursday. What can you do?

Passed Kenyatta road on the way to work this morning,and thanks to "The Fate of Africa" I now know who Kenyatta was. We took a short cut to work this morning, driving down a pedestrian dirt road. It makes me wonder where the other pedestrian dirt roads are. There are secret roads everywhere!

I was reminded of Gilbert Ryles Mind Body theory today. The question is -where is the mind?: Analogously we ask: where is the Hey University? And you take me to Hey's library, and classrooms, athletic facilities and dormatories. And I say, this is all nice, but you have not taken me to the 'University' where is the university. And you say, well the whole thing is the university. Or I say, show me team spirit, and you take me to a soccer match and show me people with facepaint, and cheerleaders, and players hugging each other after a goal. But where is the spirit? Well - there is no spirit, all of these things are expression of spirt. Same thing, where is the mind, I show you all these things like memories, and emotions, and rational decisions, and irrational decisions, and you say nice - but where is the mind. And Gilbert Ryle says, well its a category mistake, mind is like team spirit and the university - it is not a thing, but a description of an aggregate of things or a state of being - an abstract class, an interface, the walrus.

I am thoroughly exhausted. I am happy with the project. Say no to vaporware.

1 comment: