Had one of those weird, geeky-cross-cultural experiences today. We have a wonderful digital, networked photocopier at our community center/church-plant. We offer extremely low-cost photocopies for the community, especialy the university students. We also offer free, limited photocopying for the local teachers. Not only will our copier photocopy, but it will also has a scanner, document-server and print functions built in. We’ve made good use of those functions as students and others make use of our networked computers. Last week we had the copier serviced and, as part the servicing, the technician reset everything to default…thanks.
As you might guess, this brought scanning and printing and other network functions to a screeching halt. This is no big deal you say. Surely someone calling themselves the ‘missionary geek’ would have everything up and running in no time. Here is where one of those irritating factors of missionary life surface.
Our photocopier actually came from Switzerland in an earlier life. There it enjoyed a full and purposeful life in some small- or medium-sized office. But somewhere along the line, it sinned and was sent to Kosovo. It brought with it, however, its native German- and French-language packs. That’s right, our copier only “speaks” French or German. The whole interface is set up for only those two languages. Unfortunately for me, both of those languages are far from my adopted Albanian. Fortunately for me, most of the time the icons on the LCD display are pretty straightforward. Other times, technical abbreviations like IP and DHCP are the same in any language…I guess. But I could not get the thing to print from our computers to save my life. I’d set it up the first time, but maybe I just got lucky. Finally I changed some 28-letter-long German word from ‘on’ to ‘automatic’ and all was well again. Sometimes you have to take confort in the face that most of the time you can’t irrevocably break anything by pushing buttons and seeing what happens. Hey, it works for me!