As our regular followers may have already guessed, we are closing our hackerspace in Jinja, Uganda. We still have all the equipment that was donated for this amazing space, and it’s locked up in storage right now, but the actual hackerspace office is closed.
The reason for this is that we lost our manager to his own personal endeavors and because I (Johnny) put too many eggs in one basket (a mistake which I will never again repeat), we were left without anyone to manage and oversee the space full-time. Unfortunately, I am not able to commit to that full-time job because I am simply busy managing and juggling too many things.
This obviously puts us in a very bad position, and frankly we are scratching our heads about what to do about it. We need help, in the form of a “Westerner” who would be willing to come in and help us run this. If you know of anyone that’s interested in helping run a fully-stocked maker/hackerspace in Uganda, let us know. I’m looking for a “Westerner” because I need someone who has a foundational knowledge of many of the technologies available in the space (or has a capacity to learn them given our instruction), who is fluent in English (not simply conversant) and frankly we need someone who sees this as an opportunity for what it is, not someone who will simply take our instruction then immediately take off for greener pastures.
We’re paid ahead on our rent at the hackerspace and have made some “infrastructure investments” as well including dishes for Outernet, an alarm system, electrical power protection and air conditioning units. Even though the space is sitting empty for now, I have some ideas about how to recoup the investment in that space by using it for something slightly different and will likely redirect some of that equipment to the CTC where it is desperately needed.
The staff at the CTC has been fiercely dedicated and loyal these past six years, and they are doing amazing work teaching foundational computer skills and helping people get jobs, so my “Plan B”, which I’ll discuss in a future post, will leverage the staff and space of the CTC to continue the vision of the hackerspace.
I’m excited by the amazing response of our volunteers and donors who backed us in this risky endeavor and rest assured that your contributions will not be wasted. We will still continue the vision of teaching advanced technology in Uganda, but with a slightly different format.
Instead of an ending, I’m viewing this as the start of a new chapter. I’ve learned a lot of painful and valuable lessons, and I hope to use that knowledge to do better things.
Thank you for your understanding and unwavering support!