Three months to go [2017-05-30]

We’re down to less than three months to go before the return to Arusha.  I have a long list of action items but overall I think we’re on a good path.  We have all of the server parts here now, and Neal is getting ready to assemble them.  I got the equipment pre-ordered that we’ll be purchasing in Arusha.  We have a tentative schedule for installing the new sites and visiting the existing ones.  Overall, I think we’re where we need to be.

Back to work [2017-05-20]

The Reneal blog has been silent while Neal and I were on holiday, but we’re back home now and itching to get back to work.  In our absence, the third video projector was installed at Mlangarini Secondary School in Arusha Tanzania.  Thanks again to the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club for making this happen, and to Reneal School Liaision David Nyangaka for coordinating the installation!  Now our sights are set on the late August departure to Tanzania.  There is a lot to do yet: servers to build, software to test, many boxes to pack.  However there is plenty of time yet, and we know the drill.

Thanks Rotary! [2017-04-17]

We reported a few weeks ago that the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club provided a generous grant to Reneal to purchase video projectors for three of our high-performing secondary schools in Tanzania.  We are excited to send out an update that two of the three projectors have already been installed, with the third installation scheduled for this week!  THANK SO MUCH, DSV ROTARY!  This is a long-standing dream, finally fulfilled!

Shop ‘til you drop [2017-04-04]

It’s probably not the first time I’ve used this title for a blog post.  As engineers, Neal and I have never really stoked the consumer flames much by buying nice clothes or shoes or fancy cars.  However we do seem to do our share in purchases of computer equipment!  Although the Tanzania trip is still almost five months away, we are now in the throes of pre-trip shopping: I am making lists and Neal is checking sales at NewEgg.  We have some personal travel coming up but once we’re back from that, the boxes will start flowing toward Reneal headquarters.

Reflections [2017-03-28]

It’s the afternoon of March 28th here, which means March 29th is dawning in the Philippines.  It’s graduation day for the boys!  Rhog and Lloyd, Reneal OJTs these last 10 months, will be receiving their BSIT-Computer Technology degrees today.  Sadly Neal and I are already back in the US so won’t be able to attend, but we’ll be eagerly scanning Facebook later today to see the photos.  We are excited that Rhog and Lloyd will continue working part-time as computer technicians for Reneal following graduation!

The usual whirlwind [2017-03-15]

And suddenly here we are, just three days from departure…  It’s the usual frantic mix of finishing the planned tasks, dealing with surprises, trying to get equipment where it needs to go, and saying good-byes to our loved ones here.  Neal and I also took a few days off last week to make a long-anticipated trip to the island of Palawan.  It was nice to have a few days of down time before the final blast of work.

The week in review [2017-03-04]

It’s Saturday here, and we’re enjoying a quiet day in the apartment catching up on fun tasks on our respective to-do lists.  Me, I’m updating a spreadsheet template that captures and graphs students’ scores for reading comprehension and speed.  Neal is writing some Python code to automatically convert the Ubuntu 12.04 teacher accounts to work in the new 16.04 operating system.  It’s a nice finale to a very hectic week for Reneal Team Philippines.

Thanks Aboitiz! [2017-02-25]

We are at the halfway point of this trip to Cebu, and we’ve taken a few days off to rest and recharge for the second half.  Our main task this week has been testing the computer hardware generously donated by Aboitiz Equity Ventures (  We are so grateful to Aboitiz for both their support and their inspiration!  Through their own active corporate social responsibility work plus the Aboitiz Foundation, they are heroes in education, the environment, and disaster response here in the Philippines.  Reneal IEO is thrilled to be a small part of their philanthropy here.  A special thanks to Sir Rogie Abala, Aboitiz Equity Ventures IT wizard, former Aboitiz Foundation employee, and long-time friend, for helping to facilitate this wonderful gift to Reneal!

Suroy2x Sugbo [2017-02-19]

Suroy-suroy Sugbo…  It’s an expression used frequently here in Cebu, and it is always accompanied by a smile.  Subgo is the traditional name of Cebu, and “suroy-suroy” means traveling around for pleasure.  And that’s what we did this week – our work took us to five different towns as we visited several existing Reneal schools.

Back in the North [2017-02-12]

It was a week full of happy reunions for us!  We headed up to northern Cebu to visit five of the Reneal schools up there.  While there’s truly never enough time, we did manage to finish our tasks and even fix an additional unexpected bug.  I think we’ve left everyone in good share hardware-wise, and they now have Neal’s new “Manage Classes” program to assist in checking their students’ outputs.  A fulfilling week!