No Ferrero Roche
May 16th 2004
Well, there wasn't any Ferrero Roche. The ambassador was a nice enough guy but I agree with some of the others. He wanted to give us some information about what Britain is doing in Ethiopia. It is good to be informed, and of course it is of benefit to Britain if we can say to locals that X amount is being spent on food aid. Apart from that, he seemed to be playing his cards quite close to his chest.

Tesfakiros had to show me something to prove that he was unwell. I'm just glad that he showed me rather than any other member of the house. I am worried about the sense of pride with which the display was accompanied. I will leave you guessing what I was shown.

Students here seem to have difficulty in understanding that assessments must be done individually. At least, you certainly should not be stupid enough to email your programs to one another. Especially if the computer lecturer is also the sysop. This is the first time some of them have had a teacher check and award a 0 mark for a piece of work. I hope I don't have to do it again, it just takes too much time. I am aware that there is less copying here than at other universities though.

In their recent exams, a couple of students were also found to be copying. We are looking at what should be done to punish them. It has taken a while to get the students to understand that they must work inidividually. If they don't then you can't assess them properly. I am tackling it from the point that some of the students have made a real effort to do it completely themselves. It is unfair to these students not to punish cheats. I want the students to adopt this idea as well. In this way, they will not tolerate the cheats either.

The network project at Qiha is stagnant once more. At least Tsega can go there without me. That means that there is less work for me to do. I have been there briefly to meet the person who seems to have been hired as the newtork admin. She seems clueless, and a pain in the bum. I think she has a degree in Marketing. 'nuff said.

The past week, MIT has partly been used by a conference. Considering that there are supposed to be more than 200 people here, there has actually been very little disruption. I was very worried that the conference would really affect teaching. It hasn't been too bad though. This is one way for MIT to make some money. I have been going over some of the ideas from a long time ago with Mulu. We need to try to find ways of making MIT self-sufficient, and to raise MIT's image.

Bettina, Michael's wife had a birthday party last night (it's not all parties, honest). There were a few poeple there, including the Cubans. I had spent some time talking to them at Ray's party, but now was a much better time to discuss. The party was more a gathering than a big party. One of the good things about this 'job' is the variety of people that you meet. I don't really know much about Cuba. I always feel that reports about Cuba are not quite telling the truth. It was interesting to hear from a Cuban what Cuba is like, and how the socialism system actually appears to work there. Sarah's sister honeymooned there, and I know that tourism is picking up, apart from the Americans. If what I was told is true, then the Americans are definitely 'barking up the wrong tree', or just plain 'barking' actually.

The trip back from the party was a bit too exciting. As a car passed us, we could make out the forms of four hyenas in its headlights. We gave them a wide berth. Michael says that the ones in the town are only really interested in the rubbish, and they are very unlikely to attack. Despite this, we kept occasionally flashing the torchlight in the direction we had seen them. The beam of the torch became too weak at about 10m. It was impossible to see anything further than this. Maybe there were a hundred all staring and waiting. More likely, the car had spooked them and they had either run off or were regrouping. Even with a weak beam, I would expect to see their eyes glowing brilliantly. The four we had seen made no noise, and we made it back to the house with nothing more than our imagination to scare us.