Above: Mulo and Moses working on Akvo Flow in Kampala, Uganda. 

One night, reading through my emails, I came across one from the Akvo Foundation. I’d been accepted into the internship programme! 

I can’t describe the joy I felt in finding out that I’d be part of a team building open source data tools to improve international development programmes. At the same time, I was daunted by the challenges that come with building tools that are used internationally and in complex settings.

On my first working day, I was introduced, together with my new colleague Mary, to the friendly and diverse team that make up Akvo. By the third day, we were setting up our development environments. We were later assigned simple user interface issues that would help us to learn the basics of ember.js development and become familiar with the file structure of the project. These initial tasks definitely prepared me for the more complex tasks that would come later.

One of those tasks was the migration of the whole Akvo Flow project from ember.js 1.x to the latest ember.js 3.x. Initially, this assignment seemed impossible, but with a great deal of persistence and a lot of help from the development team, I managed to complete the map section of the project. This strengthened my understanding of modern Javascript concepts, such as ember, react and angularJS. Most of all, I finally understood why most organisations find it challenging to switch from one tool or programming language to another.

That, however, wasn’t the most challenging task. My worst nightmare was setting up the docker development environment on a Windows platform. I became so frustrated that I almost gave up on Windows and switched to the Linux platform. Thankfully, the development team always encouraged me to keep on pushing and offered a lot of technical help. I am really grateful for that.

I am grateful to the whole team at Akvo, but especially to the Flow development team – Mulo, Jana, Valeria, Charles, Daniel, Ivan, Loic, Lars and Mary – for making my internship experience awesome. You have taught me persistence, organisation, clear communication, and a lot about modern software development practices. I’ll take this experience with me on all of my future career adventures.

Bob Moses Mogere worked as an intern with the Akvo Flow team for one year from Kampala. You can follow him on Twitter @BGoldsoft.