An Alternate Approach to Improving the Girl Child Experience in King’s College Budo

There has been a much needed and timely furor of activity in Ugandan social media circles of the terrible experience our sisters in King’s College Budo go through. IMO there is no lasting solutions can be found without treating the root cause, which is that girls are second class citizens within the school despite being a key pillar in the learning and experiential outcomes for those who go through Budo.

The second class citizenship is excerbated by two factors, their population is 20% of the school, and they are physically located ~1.5km away from the main day-to-day school activities, making it a natural exclusion.

I was in Budo for 6 years, class 1990 to 1996, the last year to do UACE in April of the next year, during my most formative years 12 to 18 (you can compute my age now), residing in Ghana house of Lords. I can say that personally I thrived:

  • Academically – sufficient challenge to stay in the 5% percentile
  • Socially – found ways to survive within my sorroundings and made great friends both boys and girls till today,
  • Sports – learnt volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis (was on the school team), chess the team of 4 Stephens lifted Father Grimes National Chess Tropy in 1994 and 1995 respectively
  • Leadership – supervised communal work from my S2 which meant I could plan for asssignments, break down tasks and get the work done
  • Business – oh yes retailed bread in S3 and S4 which helped me make ends meet

My suggestions, pretty radical are based on my experience working in civil engineering and software delivery domains both of which require working with diverse teams of professionals of varying skillsets, based in-situ and remote at different times during the project lifetimes

  1. Repurpose Girls End from dormitories to another use which is not in the day-to-day activities, could this be the new school science and arts innovation hub with carpentry/welding, computer systems etc – the physical distance provides the necessary disconnection
  2. Move Girls End to Muteesa/Nigeria area – this covers 2 sets of dormitories which is the equivalent of Grace/Gusta and Sabanzi houses
    • This seems the only workable option as South Africa/Australia do not provide sufficient space for girls, Ghana/Canada/England will be a tough sell on the reduction of the boys numbers
    • This reduces the boy population to a 65%-35% ratio
    • Brings the girls into the mainstream activites, reducing the 3km journey to and from their dorms to class and other activities
  3. Refrubish and improve girls supporting school infrastructure across accomodation, sports and welfare
  4. Bring back communal work – recent change which removes the need to clean up after ourselves
  5. Ensure that all dormitories have consistently flowing piped water with backup water harvesting – was not the case when I last interacted with the school in 2000
  6. Educate the leadership and teachers of the school on how to support the growth and development of the girl child
  7. Bring on more senior female leadership who have experience in all girls schools to help run day-to-day operations – bring a balance between the traditional schools and the newer age modern schools (I have just stopped short of calling for a head-mistress but that would be awesome!)

This is not a change of guards but a fundamental change to help move Budo in 2020

Gakyali Mabaga! 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts – do share them

PS: I intend to update this post with a map of Budo to provide distance perspectives for those not familiar with the school layout

Voice of the ElePHPant Podcast – PHP, Technology Journey, Opensource, Java

I am excited to have been hosted on the Voices of the Elephant podcast by Cal Evans

Talking about my technology journey, opensource, Java, PHP (of course) and what I am doing with it in Uganda and Africa

Drinking Healthy with Locally Available Options

The lockdown has forced me to slow down, and over time pickup and implement some of the local knowledge for drink options to help reduce my sugar intake – I take about 5 cups of tea a day, so need to find other ways to compensate.

I have been lucky to also have ample space in which to plant some herbs and spices, I am searching for more if you have and are willing to share

This post is to share what I have managed to get so far and will keep updating – in addition to recipies

  1. Kombucha ( – fermented tea drink which I leave for 2 weeks to get to the taste that I (and now the rest of the brood) like
    • Preparation:
      • Boil 20l of water with add 200g of tea leaves
      • Leave to cool till cold, filter out the tea leaves, add 0.5kg of sugar per 5 liters of water
      • Add the kombuca mushroom in a dark colored bucket, and put in a cool place without direct sunlight
      • Open once every 3-4 days to let breathe
      • After 2 weeks, remove, keep in white jerrycans in the fridge, serve cold
    • The bucket and handling have to be done very carefully being cold can be an easy transmission mechanism for typhoid, dysentry and other water borne diseases
    • Clean the mushroom, by removing any seemingly dead parts, usually very dark colored and not consistent with the mushroom. It keeps regenerating so these become evident
    • Leaving it longer than 3 weeks leads to more fermentation giving it a more alcholic taste
    • A friend of mine with very low alcohol tolerance got a hangover from a glass of my 2 week old kombucha
    • You can leave it for varying periods of time depending on your taste buds
    • If you do not have a fridge, you can prepare multiple buckets maturing at different times to have consistent supply
  2. Tumeric, lemon and ginger mix
    • Preparation: boil 200g of tumeric, 50g ginger in about 5 liters of water, add 4 lemons to taste
    • This one we usually add to kombucha to add a different dimension in taste and flavor
  3. Munanansi – this is a new addition with the current low cost of pineapples
    • Preparation (in testing):
      • Boil a 1.5kg pineapple with peels cut into pieces, 50g of tea leaves, 200g of sugar (honey can also be used) and 100g of ginger in 20 liters of water
      • Leave to cool for at least 18 hours which improves the flavor, probably due to the pineapples and ginger settling into the juice
      • Filter and put in the fridge to drink serving cold
    • We are testing using a whole pineapple instead of just the peels so that we can get more juice, rather than the 1 liter we get from just the peels
  4. Tamarind juice
    • Preparation:
      • Place tamarind seeds in water and leave overnight
      • Squeeze the covering of the seeds which has loosened, using cheesecloth or another appropriate strainer
      • Add honey to taste
    • This can be drank alone, but is a great addition to kombucha which already has its own flavor
  5. Mululuza – commonly used for the treatment of malaria in Buganda
    • Preparation:
      • Fill a pan with leaves and add 5cm of water to cover the leaves then boil for 30min
      • Leave to cool and keep in the fridge
    • Tend to add this to tamarind, munanasi or kombucha which have their own flavors, so adds a sourish dimension to the taste
  6. Rosemary – a common addition to tea and meals for flavor, however we have started eating 4-5 leaves per person every morning to start the day
  7. Lime basil (known local name kakuba nsiri) – I add these leaves to my hot tea/coffee drink about 4-5 leaves per cup
  8. Coming soon: moringa and aloe vera (will update when we start to try these out)

Please share your local herb drink and the procedure for preparing it to help build the knowledge

Some photos showing some examples of the preparation steps above

2020-06-07 09.11.44

Munanansi fireplace preparation

2020-06-07 09.11.56

Munanansi preparation

2020-05-07 13.50.23

Tamarind being soaked in water

2020-06-05 18.11.02

Lime basil

2020-04-03 16.20.21

Mululuza after boiling

2020-04-12 18.29.22

Healthy kumbucha plant with bubbles showing its breathing and alive

2020-03-01 18.57.13

kumbucha in bucket

2020-03-01 19.10.50

kumbucha – clearning removing dead parts


Making MySQL 5.7 fully compatible with 5.6

As a developer there are times you may need to use MySQL 5.7 but have it backwards compatible with MySQL 5.6, so that existing applications work as before. This is a collection from multiple sources, that seems to get everything to work fine

The settings below when added to my.ini or my.cnf have this effect

# Only allow connections from localhost
# bind-address =
innodb_file_per_table = OFF
table_definition_cache = 400
table_open_cache = 400

# general log

Lockdown & Post-Lockdown Work Thoughts

On Thursday May 28, 2020 we were informed that it was time to return to working from the office starting Monday June 1, 2002.

Initally I was in shock looking at the traffic situation in Kampala, that was happening from the partial lifting of the travel ban, from Tuesday May 26, 2020 after almost 2 months of lockdown. I would say I am one of the lucky ones, I was ready for the lockdown, having setup my own little office in a corner of the house, complete with a table and working chair plus a steady Internet connection so I was in heaven for 2 months.

I got the equivalent of the Monday blues, that many people face, I for one love Mondays as the first day of the week and my first chance to be awesome :-). I felt sick thinking of what I would be doing in the 2.5 hours commute time, how more productive I would be and what else I would be doing.

However on further thoughts maybe that is not so bad, after all now its a chance to alter my schedule, and include forced breaks which are my commute, and suddenly things do not feel so bad afterall. I remembered that I am the eternal optimist, always looking for the silver lining in the dark cloud, so probably this is it.

I am so looking forward to Monday, its amazing how perspective and attitude are important in how we respond to the only constant change

Well it is a new day, Friday my 3rd favorite day of the week, woke up at 3am and failed to go back so I decided to start my day early after all it is now a luxury to be savored and enjoyed

What are your back to work, new normal experiences

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