Gabby – A story of international support

Also read:
Gabby – Village photographer
Gabby – How it started


Unfortunately, the laptop I had for Gabby did not start – something to do with Windows needing to be re-installed or something (hum… still not sure what the issue was…). When I was in South Africa, I asked a friend who works in IT if he could do something, and explained why (even if not an IT technician, I was sure that he could find a way to fix it). Well… he said that he could, but he had better… and he gave me a more recent 7” laptop instead of the older 15” one… The laptop was not new and the issue it had was that the battery does not hold charge for long – but, hey, we also need to plug the printer, so… fine… it will be perfect! And, icing on the cake, it came with a cool bag!

And so I happily continue my route toward Zambia (not a straight one, going first to another country) with a computer for Gabby. Not long before I was heading to the village, I took the opportunity of a stop with good internet connection to download the software for the printer. At which point I discovered that the Canon printer is not supported under Ubundu (Linux), which was the operating system (OS) of the laptop. Bugger… what now? Well, I spent the next two days learning about Linux, about virtual partitions, trying to install a Windows OS so that we could use the printer. But I could not get the software I needed to do so. And thus, I asked another friend in Zambia if he knew someone who could help… for as cheap as possible… and he did! His IT guy was very happy to help, for Gabby, and he installed Windows for free!

Yeah, ready to roll you would think! Well, not quite as we can only install the full software with the printer plugged in, so had to wait until I was with Gabby. I downloaded the softwares on a stick, ready to go. At which point, we discovered that the screen resolution was not enough to install the photo software. As I had to leave, I left Gabby with some instructions to by-pass the issues. So I hoped. He faced another one, with internet being in French (honestly, I don’t know how that happened as it was not used in France, or by me in French as far as I remember). Anyway… while Gabby managed to sort out the issue of French internet, the printer software was still an issue. Gabby used the computer for other purposes (even if only to store his pictures), but still not for upgrading the service with the pictures.

And so, my next trip to the village was aimed to get internet connection there and try to sort it out…


A few weeks ago, I met with Gabby again and we looked at it. Another couple of set-back as the photo software is no more available, my previous copy of it still say that the screen resolution is not high enough. But… I was with another 2 volunteers, from Italy and Australia, both keen to help Gabby and the village with their photos. And here we are, finding ways to make it work (not the traditional way, but it works!) and teaching Gabby how to do it. When I left, Suzanne and Giulia continued to help Gabby with making the photos, making templates and continuing the lessons.

International teamwork, all the way! And thank you all for your support, to Gabby… and to me!!


So, Gabby, with his big heart in a village in Zambia, illustrates how we can all help each other across borders: from a UK computer with a French lady, we had support in South Africa, then in another town in Zambia, and finished with Australian and Italian expertise in the village.



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