The systems were installed and running fine when I returned to Chicago. A few weeks later we got a fax that there were problems. The computers were all failing on a regular basis. It was crisis time, loss of data and program crashes were not a good thing.
John drove up from Nairobi the next day to investigate. He stayed the day and saw the actual failures with his own eyes. He called me in Chicago the next morning after he got back to Nairobi. The falures all happened at about 10:00 am. The screens start flickering, the data in memory starts doing wierd things and everything soon grinds to a halt. So what happens at 10:00 am I asked. That is Chai time. Chai is tea. so just before tea time all the ladies plug in their tea kettles to heat water for Chai. But we put UPSs on all the systems I responded. Yes but they make that awful buzzing racket so they were all unplugged and set aside. The computer outlets are conviently located and the standard outlets were hard to get at so they plugged the teakettles into the red computer outlets. The meter showed the voltage supposedly 220VAC dropping down below 140 volts. No wonder the memory was failing with the daily brownout.
So what to do? We wrote up instructions on how to save files and power down the computers every day before Chai. Procedures we can change, culture we cannot.