Day 6 of entrepreneuring, Friday, was Jim and I’s “designated” day of rest! The groups were given the opportunity to plan their own schedules and determine for themselves what it is they each sought to do. Realizing that they only had 2 weeks and a significant set of deliverables to complete by the end of the program, each group utilized their day very effectively! Most of them once again used the day to go into the town and market places to meet with various people in industry to help guide, vet and refine their ideas!
While they kept themselves busy, the moment of truth for me and E-MAGINE had finally come! I had received some news from Jim that the system had been “bounced around quite a bit” on its journey to Kenya but had no clue on earth what that meant! Upon unveiling it from its crate, it didn’t look like it had suffered much internal damage! With limited resources to fix anything and given the fact that I was the ONLY member of our team traveling to set it up this year – that was the underlying hope in everyone’s mind!
This system was completed by our team’s engineers David Finkbiner and Raghavsrinivas Ramkumar under the guide and lead of Chief Engineer Nick Fredricks. Since I did not travel with any solar panels or batteries (due to cost & customs) I had to wait for some to be procured locally for it to be tested and given a clean bill of health! Patiently I began to wait as they said it could take a day or two…
The rest of my day was spent in meetings with members of the Michigan-Kenya Partnership Board along with local community members, to address the issues of internet access to schools in the locality and the associated challenges faced. We discussed a variety of options and eventually concluded that we needed to determine how soon the Fiber Optic Cable which had finally reached Meru was going to be extended to the region of Kithoka where we were located. This was going to be achieved through upcoming meetings with Safaricom, the Kenya Data Network, and both KEMU & Meru University.