George Mhaule Primary School

Hello @jeremy and @jfield

I will be traveling to South Africa on a tour, and visiting the George Mhaule Primary School in Mpumalanga, South Africa for 1 day. I have arranged to leave a 32 GB FujiFilm USB 2.0 Flash Drive containing the 32GB English Version of Rachel.

The school just got electricity and bathrooms, but has no computers yet. They expect computers will eventually become available.

The version I purchased several years ago has the the UwAk,mp program on it for installation in a server-type environment, but your new version (RACHEL-USB 32EN v4.0) on your FTP Site no longer comes with that feature.

Which version should I leave? Ken

hello @barbik

We removed the need for the server software, if you want to set up a network you can use windows file sharing to allow access from other computers.

That being said, we’ve had a hard time finding long-term success with the USB. Reformatting of computers is regular maintenance there and the USB are prone to catching and spreading viruses quickly. We’d love for you to consider a server (RACHEL-Plus or even Pi).


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Hello Jeremy

Thank you for the input. I had worried about the virus issue before and even posted a comment about it last week.

I can take a Raspberry Pi Model B+ loaded with RachelPi_32EN_3.2.0 since the 64GB version won’t download from your FTP server, As I said, the school does not have a single computer yet - - let alone know what to do with a Pi. I will only be passing thru on a tour with Grand Circle Travel, and the Grand Circle Foundation (a non-profit group providing added support to the school) does have a point of contact there with whom I will briefly meet, and leave both the USB and Pi. Ken

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I have actually found the RACHEL-Pi (or Plus) to end up working better than the USB version in low-tech environments. The reasons include what Jeremy said, plus the fact that the RACHEL-Pi can be used by people over WiFi, so many phones, tablets, etc. This means that it can be helpful even in places where there are no computers.

As to downloading - you had trouble with this file?

Have you tried downloading with an FTP client like FileZilla?

We also offer download via rsync if you’re on any variety of unix:

rsync -Pavz rsync:// ./

The 32 GB version is very old, but it probably still works. Haven’t tested it in years though.

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Thank you for the information. I’ll try FileZilla and see what happens. Using my existing FTP program or the standard Firefox download, I always get a “download failed” message. Ken

Here’s what is happening now - -

I’ll let you know if it completes. Ken

The good thing with FileZilla is that it should be able to restart a failed download without starting over… if you have a spotty connection it’s not surprising if it gets dropped at some point in the 19 hours… but if you can restart it, you should be able to finish eventually.


Today I visited the George Mhaule Primary School in Mpumalanga outside of the Kruger National Park. The school is one of 13 schools sponsored/supported by the Nkambei Safari Camp ( which provides jobs and skills training to local villagers. Its General Director and part owner, Chris Schalkwyk, is a former school teacher. He and his wife (also a retired school teacher) are very dedicated to providing education to the children in the area, and are actively working to improve them. He has heard of Rachel but has never seen a copy.

I was on a tourist excursion run by Grand Circle Travel, Boston, MA, to South Africa. The school receives needed funding assistance from the non-profit Grand Circle Foundation in Boston.

The George Mhaule Primary School is a very basic structure. Their classrooms were built in the late 1990’s with chalk and white boards. Recently, a well was dug and new bathrooms were constructed. The school office has internet and a local office Wifi with 2 laptop computers. None of he 640 students (from pre-school age to the 14 year olds in 7th grade) have their own computer or SMART Phone. The school hope to get computers some day again thru a grant from the Grand Circle Foundation, but there is no completion date to that.

Since Mr. Schalkwyk has ties with 13 schools in the area with similar conditions, it made more sense to give him the 32 GB Rachel English Version on a USB Flash Drive instead of a Rachelpi. I advised him of the virus issues surrounding the flash drive, and told him to install Rachel on each computer individually, and guard the original device (which regrettably did not have a write-protection switch).

I told Mr. Schalkwyk there are a number of other Rachel installations in South Africa and many more to the north. I was not familiar with World Possible’s African ground resources, but told him I would try to get him some contacts to work with. His phone is +27 (0) 82 829 9021 and his E Mail is

Ken Barbi

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Thanks for the report Ken! Sounds like a lot of the schools I have visited in SA. I don’t know if you have plans to return to the area, but it’s always nice if you can follow up and stay in touch with users. We learn a lot about the challenges of deployment that way!