Diamonds are made under pressure, fire refines gold

It is day three of Andela boot camp and believe me you, this is no ordinary day for me. It is one of those days where everything seems to have gone sideways.

To start with, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed trying to recover from last nights robbery that saw me lose both my laptop and smartphone. Imagine spending a day off the grid. As if that is not enough, I had multiple assignments to submit and hadn’t attempted any of them. With no laptop and smartphone, it is quite impossible to wade through this mystic river of code.

All these predicaments though alarming couldn’t shake my will to thrive. Instead of breaking me, my levels of determination soared higher. I managed to procure myself a replacement laptop by 1 pm and went ahead to attempt the assignments. I had informed my learning facilitator earlier about the challenges I was facing and thank God she understood my case.

While waiting for the PC to arrive, I engaged with the team on gitter trying to help where I could. This helped me gain an insight on the current state of the assignments. I also spent most part of that time digging up resources about docopt and deciding which API I was going to consume.

What is docopt ?

Docopt is a python module that aids the production of command line applications. It parses command line arguments for the application logic to process seamlessly

The programming tests were a breeze. It consisted of two assignments, one was to find the minimum and maximum number provided a list of integers as input, the other was to return a dictionary of words and the number of times they appeared on in the list.

The command line application assignment came right after qualified. As soon as I had initialized the github repo and made a few commits, power went off….. Massive blackout.

See, the replacement laptop I got doesn’t have a battery, it is a portable TV of sorts. On top of that, there can’t be internet without power where I am doing my assignments from. While it drizzled, I pondered where to go next. Despite the weather outside, I jumped on the first boda boda (these are motor bikes used as public transport) my limbs could allow and went war riding across Kampala’s streets scratching the buildings for any internet cafe that could allow me use my personal computer. At first, I thought I would walk into the first cafe I came across and continue coding but alas, I was setup for a major disappointment. Most of attendants rejected my request to use my laptop “TV” despite my pleas.

I was forced to remember all the internet cafe’s I used to frequent while still in high school. It was a bitter sweet feeling trying to rehash the beautiful past where I could go to internet cafe’s after school to write JavaScript.

After about an hour of riding Kampala’s streets with the rain in my face, I came across a ridiculously expensive internet cafe. It was such a rejuvenating sight that I didn’t mind the charges. After paying for the hours I hoped to use, I walked to the nearest seat, opened the “TV” and proceeded with the day’s assignments.

At the end of the day, I had crafted a command line application that translates your input from English to another language specified. The public API is consumed from, an online dictionary that translates words across languages.

Lessons learnt

  1. Always reach out to someone when you feel lost.

If I hadn’t reached out to my facilitator and the people in my circles, I wouldn’t have made it through the day.

2. Don’t just give up, there is always another way.

Yes, I said it. Sometimes you might feel like you have hit a wall yet right next to the wall is a hidden door. If you focus so much on the wall you might miss the door. Look around, help might be staring right at you.

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