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Thoughts from February 2009

the lion sleeps tonight

JT in Kenya

In a round:- Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh...

0902 JT Elephant

An Elephant

Ok so I wasn’t in a jungle but any excuse to get that song in (pop anorak alert, check out the REM cover of it).

Well it’s not all work work work you know. On my weekend I decided that I should head out to one of the national parks to see some wildlife. So off I ventured 3 hours south of Kola to Tsavo, there are two national parks in the area Tsavo West and East. I headed to the West as it was more accessible for me.

I thought that because I had seen nature programmes then I had seen all the animals before, but it’s not until you see them in the flesh that you really appreciate how fantastic, ridiculous and amazing they really are. Within 5 minutes of being in the park we drove by a giraffe, how do those spindly legs manage to keep it upright, I don’t know? Ostriches were another funny one, they are massive. The best sight of all was in the evening I sat down for dinner and was trying to choose my meal and looked out to the watering hole to see a herd of elephants having a bit of drink. After a few minutes they just wandered off in single file out into the bush. Beautiful.

A gruesome little tale is that the lions at Tsavo are famous for being the most aggressive. This was proven in the 19th century when 140 railway workers were killed in a single year by two man-eaters. The man who trapped them and killed them was Colonel JH Patterson, if you want to find out more he wrote a book called The Man-Eaters of Tsavo.

I was disappointed not to see a lion but then again maybe it was for the best, wimoweh, wimoweh...

0902 JT Giraffe

Penguin.

the day job

JT in Kenya

My brief whilst I am out here is to spend time setting up a computer network for the office staff in Kola. The office manages the operational functions of EDK (Excellent Development Kenya), they are broadly split into Finance, Admin, Logistics, and Training. Here’s most of the EDK team, John wore his shades especially to look cool, I reeled out my cheesiest grin and strangely Mbutu stared at the tree; good job the others knew how to behave on camera.

0902 ED K team

Left to right – Kyalo, Christine, John, Esther, Peter, Mbutu, Me

Right, if you are at all bored by IT talk I advise you to stop here.

The challenges to IT work in Kenya are based around getting quick access to the right hardware and software. The nearest place with a choice of IT equipment to purchase is in Nairobi, which is a good 2 hour drive. Being prepared is important as you can’t just pop down the shops to get another network cable. Also I am used to downloading the software I need from the internet, whether it is Windows Updates or new applications. You need a speedy and reliable internet link for downloading large files and this isn’t always the case in Kenya.

In remote areas such as Kola the only possible way to get internet access is by using mobile broadband (the USB sticks that are getting popular in the UK) which the mobile companies are rolling out across the country. Unfortunately the service can be unpredictable. However it is very impressive how the mobile companies are using a technology like mobile broadband to reach customers and bring the internet to such remote places. If you consider that there is no mains electricity or running water where I am staying.

It will be great if the mobile companies can get to the level of coverage and reliability they have with voice calls as an improved service will mean better communication and hopefully benefit Kenya’s communities and economy. Every man and his cow in Kenya have a mobile and the advertising for the mobile companies is everywhere. I heard a story from a visitor to EDK saying that she was out in the Maasai Mara with one of the warriors in his full ceremonial dress when his mobile went off. It’s good to talk.

By JT.

now available in finland

Last month we started working with a company called Helsinki Foodstock Oy, who are helping us sell our smoothies in Finland. Here they are, looking fine and Finnish...

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Things have started really well and you can find our drinks across Finland in Wayne's Coffee, Stockmann Food Hall, at the airport and in some very nice cafes throughout Helsinki.

Picture 010
Sami, co-founder of Foodstock, in a Wayne's Coffee shop

Getting around has been a bit tricky though. Even with snow chains attached to her tyres, our grassy van is no match for a filthy Finnish winter.

Snow van

And some of our Finnish friends have been taking our drinks for a swim in the icy sea, for no apparent good reason.

Ice swim

To help us understand things better, and to share a bit of Finnishness with us, the Foodstock folks sent us over an ice hockey tabletop game. We played hard...

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And then we had a fight, which we understand is how things are done, ice hockey style. We are slowly learning the ways of the Finn.

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WLTM

It's Valentine's Day on Saturday. Last year, we made a photo love story on a shoestring budget to celebrate. But this year, we thought we'd get you to share the love instead.

All you have to do is add your WLTM ad as a comment below, and the best one will end up on one of our labels.

Label love

What's more, we'll send you and the person you fancy a heart shaped case of each.

Here's an example of something we came up with earlier:

Gorgeous brunette on 8:38am to Colchester

You were wearing a red coat, drinking one of these smoothies. I was the shy, blond chap with the eyepatch. You smiled at me when you got off. Wish I’d asked for your number. Would love to take you for a coffee. Or maybe another 2 portions of fruit? You might think I’m odd, writing on smoothie bottles. But I thought this would be the best way to find you. And I’m just a hopeless romantic, taking a chance on love. With an eyepatch. If you read this, get in touch BOX 541.

Your word limit is approximately 90 words - that's what we can fit on the side of a bottle.

And to help get those loving thoughts flowing, here are a few more (slightly short) examples from the good people right here at Fruit Towers:

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DSC07812

DSC07825

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DSC07820

Remember, your ad needs to be no more than 90 words long.

And for those of you who tend to waffle on a bit here's a quick guide to LHA (lonely hearts acronyms):

WLTM - Would like to meet

GSOH - Good sense of humour

OHAC - Own house and car

OHAT - Own hair and teeth

Closing date is Monday 16th February. Happy love spreading.