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Lizards, Monkeys, and Bees – ICT Support Calls Inveneo Has Received

By Wayan Vota on May 20, 2011

With rural ICT implementations in over 23 countries, Inveneo gets some interesting support calls as all manner of issues come about. Today from Kenya, we bring you the lizard that blew up the inverter.

Apparently a little green lizard thought an electrical inverter at one of our project sites would be a nice warm place to take a nap. ZAP! He became a fried lizard and took out the AC power system when he shorted out the inverter motherboard. Here’s a close-up.

Now this was an easy fix for our local partner, Winafrique. But not all of our support calls are so simple to diagnose and rectify. Here is one we received from Nepal:

A monkey is relocating the WiFi antenna on the roof. Please suggest the best troubleshooting steps for that.

Not having a wild monkey troop in San Francisco to test solutions with, the best we could do is come up with these three options for our Nepali partners to try:

  1. Coat antenna with cayenne pepper to annoy the monkey
  2. Electrify a fake antenna to teach the monkey to stay away
  3. And if those didn’t work, make monkey stew

Usually though, our local partners have a solution, like the time killer bees nested in another WiFi box. No one wants to disturb a killer bees’ nest, but honey conducts electricity and the bees were shorting out the router, taking out Internet access to the project site.

Our local partner in the project, Norbert Okec, knew the local beekeeper, borrowed a beekeeper outfit, and cleaned, repaired and reinstalled the WiFi box. To quote Mark Summer,

It shows just how important it is to have local partners to help with installations, support and many of the other issues you can never predict in Africa and Haiti.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “Lizards, Monkeys, and Bees – ICT Support Calls Inveneo Has Received”

  1. Laughed out loud sitting here in Tabora. A couple of us spent most of last week installing Inveneo computers over in Mbola and considering how far in the middle of nowhere we were, the office on this end will probably be calling in their own unique support calls fairly soon.

    P.S: In case the name does seem familiar we met over at Columbia University a couple of months ago. The MPA-DP program and Matt Berg’s class.