Saturday, January 27, 2007

Africa: Day 0 (Departing RDU)

And thus begins my story; sitting in a familiar booth, in a familiar cafe, in another familiar airport very much reminiscent of that day 8 months ago when I began the last chronicles of my adventure in Africa.

I would like to segway momentarily to apologize to those of you who are loyal readers of this blog. I was blogging at an ever-increasing frenzied pace throughout December and seemed to fall off the earth in January, so much that my best friend assumed I had left the country without telling her.

In fact, I had not yet left the Americas but was instead consumed with the daily preparations inherent in these projects, coupled with the duties of hiring for the next project as well. These last days have seen me spending many dutiful hours behind the keyboard, but few moments for personal enjoyment and blogging.

As my journeys resume, however, I will find it again quite comforting to assume my regular position behind this laptop, writing to all of you at home to share my experiences and longing for your communications, to know what is going on at home, to feel like part of the Americas.

In as much as I thoroughly enjoy the travel and work overseas, I find that I equally enjoy the time of reflection that times like this impose upon me. Lacking social companionship I usually find it much easier to sit and write my thoughts from the patio of my Libyan apartment, from the second floor of the Italian cafe in Tripoli. Not having the distractions of my normal life seems to breed a certain flavor to my writings that can't be duplicated from the comfort of my home. This makes me feel as if I slightly understand why "real" authors often go to far away remote places and hide away for months at a time to complete their literary works. Solitude breeds insight. Insight brings thought and thought breeds a vernacular adeptness above that of the regular rantings that sometimes drift across this blog like flotsam on a literary ocean.

I guess I need to tell you why I'm going, so you'll have a better understanding of what we are doing. To put it in simple terms that the nonsavvy of you will understand I guess we can describe this trip as literary public relations. When implementing a network that runs into the millions of dollars, a certain amount of documentation is required to tell the customer "how" things work, "why" they work that way, and "what" to do to best utilize their equipment. Previous project managers and turn and burn of staffing have resulted in a mostly complete network model, however the lack of documentation skills in some of the previous members have left the documentation in poor shape, with large gaps of information missing and/or inaccurate. The team I put together originally did such a good job on the documentation of our previous installations that we have been asked to completely re-write the documentation, and then to deliver it to the customer. This is an extremely tedious process and requires us to be at the actual location to gather information from the equipment we're working on. As such, Tim and I are returning to "put it right" as it were.

Well, time is abundant and I have things yet to accomplish here before I board for JFK international, so I'll end this narrative here for now. I'll resume from New York or London if time permits.

Much love,

Tommy: 1347HRS EST 012407

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