• Posted by Meghan on 16 Sep 2009

We have had a pretty busy few days here in Monkey Valley. On Friday night we went in to Cape Town for dinner and drinks. (One of us had more dinner and one of us had more drinks). It was fun to the see variety of people here and the similarities and differences between a city in South Africa and a city in the US. On Saturday we drove down the coast toward Cape Point. We stopped at several places along the way and had dinner right by the water where we got to see a whale.
The conference began on Sunday and quiet Monkey Valley is now filled with the clicking of geeks typing and deep discussions about modules and reports. I have attended several of the sessions, a couple intentionally and a couple unintentionally. I’ve seen Ben present four times and it’s very fun to watch him work.
I think Ben had high hopes that his programming knowledge had been leaking into me and that I would really wow people this week with my computer skills. I have to say that I can talk the talk. I know all of the lingo and can follow a conversation, but my lack of nerdiness was confirmed yesterday. I attended a presentation that Ben did on synchronization (which I think I figured out is something about making sure that all of the clinics have the same patient information) and Ben kept talking about this ‘parent’ and ‘child’ and ‘siblings’ and the entire time I thought it was so nice that he was actually talking about people and what OpenMRS does for real, living people. Unfortunately I figured out about ten minutes before the presentation ended that those were also computer terms (although I don’t know what they mean).
The good news is that we now know for sure that Ben is a geek and I never will be and I think we are both happy to be what we are and to not be what we aren’t. I have to say though that after watching some of these people I am very thankful to have ended up with my geek and not one of the others. 🙂

  • Posted by Ben on 15 Sep 2009

Meghan mentioned in a previous post that we were able to look up from our computers for about 30 minutes last week and take a walk along the beach. I just uploaded those recordings to a great video sharing site called blip.tv .

You can see the three videos here:

(I also took some video when we went over the the Indian Ocean side, I’ll let you know when I am able to upload those)

  • Posted by Meghan on 10 Sep 2009

After our delightful walk on the beach last night (it was breezy but extremely beautiful watching the sun set over the ocean) we came back for a few more hours of work and then headed to dinner. We had a very interesting experience at dinner.
People who are attending the conference next week are slowly starting to arrive and last night three men from Zimbabwe joined us at dinner. Ben and I introduced ourselves to them and when they heard Ben’s name one of them said, “Oh, so you’re the OpenMRS guy!”
Ben played it off very nicely giving other people credit but they made several comments about his work and how important he is to OpenMRS.
It made me laugh because earlier this week I had commented on how everyone wants to run things by Ben or get his approval on stuff before they do them. Of course, I’ve known for years that he’s the best programmer around, but it’s funny to suddenly be surrounded by others that also think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m anxious to see what happens next week when 150 people are begging for attention from ‘The OpenMRS Guy’ (make that 151 1/2 because I’ll be in line with everyone else 😉 ).

In other news, the whales are back, although much further out than they were before. And also, I’ve had several opportunities to chat with the two guys that are here from Kenya. One of them is married and his wife is on leave for the month of October so he said that I could hang with her. They are also going to take us to their church. I asked for details about his church last night and he said it is small and everything is in Swahili but he promised he would do some translating for us. I’m already missing our church and although we can download the sermons it’s not quite the same as being able to worship together and watching Aaron in action.
It is much warmer today and I spent a while sitting outside soaking up the sun and watching the ocean. We’re having a barbecue tonight (they call it a braai here) and tomorrow we’re going out into Cape Town for dinner so there’s a lot to look forward to!
Here’s a shout-out to my Grandma who fell yesterday and had to go to the hospital. We love you Grandma!

  • Posted by Meghan on 09 Sep 2009

Over the years some of you may have spent time pondering the very question that I found myself thinking about this afternoon…’How many games of FreeCell can a girl play in one afternoon?’ Today I had the chance to discover the answer. I play about 29 games an hour (with a winning streak, I might add). That means that if I played from the end of my lunch time until we leave in the evening for dinner I could play about 150 games if I didn’t take any water or bathroom breaks. Amazing, huh?
On a positive note, I was allowed out of my room to play this afternoon. I was able to spend the entire time (almost) downstairs in front of the fire. Not that I actually socialized with anyone. It turns out that the only way computer scientists communicate at conferences is through instant messaging and I’m not privy to their secret chat rooms, but at least I was warm!
Yes, this is my life in Africa. Some people thought I was so adventurous and wild running away to another continent. And it’s true; I’ve had the chance to experiment with all kinds of new things since I’ve been here (such as long hours of silence and FreeCell). Try not to worry about me too much. I’ve heard that on Friday there’s a chance that they will be taking a half-day. Those CS-ers are a wild bunch.

  • Posted by Meghan on 07 Sep 2009

Here’s my attempt at a quick update. The flight to Amsterdam was uneventful and actually passed pretty quickly. We got to our hotel in Amsterdam (which was fabulous), took a nap and then ventured out into town. We were given a map at the hotel to nearby restaurants which made us pretty brave. We walked a very long way in our flip-flops and after circling the block several times found a cute little Italian restaurant. The food was great and our waiter spoke wonderful English and had visited to the US before. He told us that since it was getting late it would be best for us to take a bus. He assured us that we could just hop on the 198 route and take it to Station NS. We confidently went out (because we’re such world travelers) and found the bus stop. The ride was uneventful and the driver told us when to get off. The problem occurred when we got off the bus and realized we had no idea where we were or which direction our hotel was in. We walked a very long way aimlessly heading towards the one building that we recognized as being near our hotel from our shuttle ride from the airport. We laughed at ourselves the entire way which helped the walk go quickly.

The next day we got up bright and early and headed to the airport. To our surprise it turned out that 3 guys from the Boston group were on our flight and it was really nice to see familiar faces! The flight was almost 11 hours which was just WAY too long but I walked a lot and bothered Ben a lot so it wasn’t too horrible.


We got to the Monkey Valley Resort last night around 11:30. It was really dark and it was raining. Our house is very nice but I had no idea what the world outside looked like. Ben did say as we were going to sleep that the sound which I thought was a heater (in my dreams…the place was freezing!) was the ocean.

I was SHOCKED when I woke up this morning and looked out the window. We are practically IN the ocean! It’s beautiful even though it’s been cloudy and rainy today. We’re not exactly roughing it here and I’ve spent a very romantic morning by myself watching the rainbows, breaching whales and horseback riders on the beach from my balcony.


I’m including a couple of pictures of our ‘master suite’ and our view. I’ll work on getting some better pictures of the whales but with the clouds my pictures weren’t turning out. Ben will post our other pictures tonight.  We miss you all and appreciate your comments and emails!

  •                                                  Subscribe        About Us