Where Africa and Technology Collide!

A Walk Down Memory Lane

This weekend my dad and I sat down for about 8 hours and went through old slides from when they first went out to Africa as missionaries. There are 3 rather large boxes, 2 of which are full of slides and 1 with “normal” pictures. I’ll probably post some of them over time as, since so many of them have such great stories behind them.

Through a complicated combination of old slide projector, a scanner that accepts slides, MacBook Pro, and Photoshop we were able to digitize 160 of the 350 that we deemed worthy to save in a digital format. Here are a few of the results:

Cracked Head - first time

My older sister taunted me into jumping out of the hammock on the back porch when we lived in Juba, Sudan. That was the first of many cracks to the head… Thank God that he made me as hard-headed as I am. Yes, that is Blue Band and Kenya Creameries Butter, we used to bring it all the way up from Nairobi when we were able to get to the big city.

Oops, dad drives over a taposa calf

Welcome to Riwoto, Sudan! Driving way out in the African bush for the first time to what would be our new home for many years my dad happened to drive over a Taposa calf. This is the Taposa people’s one and only show of true wealth, much like the Maasai. Not a great start, but it all ended well when my dad purchased the calf.

A young fundi

Yani, I was born to be a fundi (mechanic)! However, since that time my fundi skills have diminished greatly… I still love Toyota Landcruisers though, and likely always will. I will vehemently debate their usefulness compared to a Land Rover all day long.


  1. I like seeing these pictures, it’s interesting to see people when they’re kids because there’s such a continuity in personalities. The “young fundi” picture is classic. I tmade me think about kids I’ve known and how curious they all were to understand how things were put together.

  2. wow, great post! I love such old slides! We also have quite some arround and I should digitize them some day. Also those old 8mm films, but I’m not quite sure how to get those digitized…

  3. Thanks guys. Interesting that you mentioned the 8mm film. My grandfather visited us once while we lived out in the bush and brought his film camera. I’m trying to get ahold of that film now too. It’s doing no one any good gathering dust in a box somewhere, if I can get it digitized many people in my family would appreciate it.

  4. wow, thanks for the pics! especially loved the one with the blueband and butter. I miss that butter!!

  5. Great photographs. Pretty terrible start in Sudan, but quick thinking to buy the calf! Also your dad has an excellent beard – standard issue to missionaries I believe (:

  6. That’s really great stuff. I hope you enjoyed the memories and are feeling better.

  7. Great stuff, keep it coming!
    I recently found our old 8mm camera which is still working. My sis recently told me that she’s going to get those 8mm films into digital format, and I am also trying to persuade my mum that we invest into one of those slide scanners to save some old pics from 1965 & co (~India & Co).

    As for LandCruisers – have you seen this site?

  8. I was Peace Corps in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in the early 1990s. Seeing that picture of the Blue Band brought back memories. Great post!

  9. Fantastic pics Hash!!

    I spotted the Blue Band – in a mkebe, no less immidiately. And one of my uncles had the very same beard – and he is a missionary too!!

    I am looking forward to getting my hands on my old family photos next chance I get to and digitizing them all.

    You know whats interesting about all those old Land Cruisers and Land Rovers, you could basically fix anything that went wrong on them with some bailing wire, twine, screwdriver, pliers and an old inner tube. Anything. Period.

  10. Hullo,
    This is Henry your skype contact.
    The mention of Juba reminds me of lots of memories! I was raised in Sudan my self though never set foot in Juba! Hopefully i could be there early May! I like your blog. We share passions: Informatics! And a history! Well am not so sure! Did you ever step foot in Maridi!?

  11. Just HOW on earth did you get your mzee into this blogging biashara?

    Aterere…man, that’s SO nice! 🙂

  12. JKE, it was a long road, but my mzee is a natural writer/storyteller so he saw the value. I actually think he’s enjoying himself quite a bit with it, now that he’s getting used to it.

    Now, I’m the one who needs to crack the whip on myself. I still haven’t even customized his layout…

  13. I bumped into your blog while checking out what everybody else is writing about Africa, via Google.

    I am very impressed.

    By the way, Kenya is my homeland and I couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of BLUE BAND on your table. I bet you like KIMBO too!

    I am very much into ‘things Africa’ on the web; feel free to visit my websites to explore and to promote your own:


    I am especially interested in your articles for you are a prolific blogger and your articles are most welcome in http://www.afroarticles.com/

    Good luck White Brother!

  14. Hey Hash, nice pics. I’m a Canadian new to the region (I’m in Lesotho). You seem to know what’s going on in the South African web space so I thought I’d ask your recommendation of a south african web hosting company. The plan is to put up a wiki-ish sort of do on mountain biking trails in Lesotho. There are thousands of brilliant trails, just nothing mapped out. Only requirement is php. Well this is my little technology idea for Africa, it’s not as ambitious as your’s, but there you go. If you could package your’s in a file smaller than 5MB, i might even be able to download it in Lesotho. I am curious at least.


  15. hey hash i have some slides from ‘them days’ i might need guidance on “… complicated combination of old slide projector, a scanner that accepts slides,” I had forgotten about them, digitizing them would be great. So you went from being fundi wa magari to fundi wa web? Cool pics…ulikuwa kababy kazuri?!

    AfroM, it’s actually not that complicated. You just need to buy, borrow or steal a scanner that takes slides. Attach that via the USB cable to your computer. Open up photoshop and click “file > import > your scanner name” and then follow the instructions of your particular scanner. Once the image is in Photoshop, then you just save it as a jpg.

    I would suggest you purposefully limit yourself on the number of slides you choose. Primarily because they take a couple minutes each to process. You can only get a couple dozen done in an hour.

    Good luck with your digitizing, and shoot me an email if you need further guidance (or skype).

  16. Hash,
    Those are great. My dad is still working putting all of his slides too. Even some from when my grandparents were in TZ. What a great way to share them with everyone.

  17. landrover v cruiser himmmmmm! spent about equal time in both meandering through some serious Lagos potholes in the rainy season – actually my parents had one of those frog type citroens which was simply the best of all. will also appreciate some help with the slides – my parents have hundreds and my sister has been slowly getting them developed but its expensive – this sounds like a great alternative.

  18. Those pic. I saw look like it is from the stone age. Is that what you wont the other part of the world to see Africa?….. Mr. Whte African. Please go and take Pic. from where you are born.

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