Meet the Community: Laurence Bahiirwa

The Basics

ClassicPress Slack Handle: @omukiguy
ClassicPress Forum Handle: omukiguy
Twitter: @omukiguy
Github: @Bahiirwa
Website: omukiguy.com
Where in the world are you located? Kampala, Uganda. Yap, it’s in Africa.

Tell us about yourself — occupation, hobbies, etc.

I have been a freelancing web developer but have since moved to teaching high schoolers. Yes, I now have to put on a shirt and proper pants with closed shoes. Long gone are the days where I put on a t-shirt, shorts and sandals the whole day; even for meetings. 3 months ago, I used to work at an advertising agency as a web developer and part time graphics designer. Programming-wise, I am self taught, having graduated from business school in university. I have to study about two hours every day to keep up with the changing technology and grow my dev skills.

For fun, I love to troll my friends on Twitter, watch, coach and play rugby.

What do you teach?

Information and communications technology. My students are doing Cambridge education system so they learn up-to-date things. It allows me to learn and also share what I have learnt. Preschool through Grade 3 have Lego robotics while the Grade 4-12 learn stuff in their syllabus from computer basics to web authoring in HTML, CSS and JS. The students mostly love seeing what I am doing with my free time and how I am making the world better.

Can you tell me some more about the projects you are doing in your free time?

E-commerce payments are a pain in Uganda, and Africa as a whole, since most payment systems like PayPal, Stripe etc. map Africa as a risky locale with fraud and other financial dealings. Teaming up with a friend, we decided to make payment gateways to support the simplest of payments using USSD (mobile phones) to grow e-commerce in our community. Right now we have ported this to WooCommerce, hopefully ClassicCommerce soon and into simple give/donate plugins. We shall extend this to static sites too and other CMSs.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

The thought of my 6-year-old getting to school late. And the cooing of his new little sister. Most times, she won’t allow me sleep from 3 – 7am. Outside that, knowing that I am passing on what I have learnt to a new generation is a big motivation.

What’s your dream job?

I am doing it. Learning, teaching and sharing what I know.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

Gutenberg’s introduction into WordPress core sent me searching and I found Scott on Twitter. I got curious and started following the CP growth. I have developed with WordPress since 2011 and was very engaged in my local community. Thus I had started a journey to commit to core and was learning the strings. With Gutenberg coming up, I was excited about the new editor but as I tried to learn it, I realized it made work a lot harder and more expensive in cost and time. I am no Javascript hero but the continuous integration in GB was a black hole. The local market I serve here does not value websites much, so the work vs pay aspect would have been a nightmare. They want quick, “cheap” solutions. The learning curve was … [am speechless] for my clientele, so I started looking for a solution that still had the old editor and was here to stay (the Classic Editor plugin won’t be here for long).

On arrival, I was blown away by the community and the long term goals of CP. Democracy through the petitions and a fresh place to learn the core and strings involved. I was able to contribute to core in my first month with James Nylen and Artem Frolov providing back to back guidance. I was able to submit a PR for the ClassicPress petitions dashboard. Those two made contributing to open source a utopia. I hope CP never loses that; it’s priceless. The dashboard widget gives me more gas to push.

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

  1. The simplicity of the editor and security-first approach of ClassicPress makes it magic for my clients and development a lot more fun.
  2. Democracy.
  3. Contribution friendly community.

Those make CP a keeper.

Done fast; done cheap; done well: what’s your choice(s) and why?

Burnt actually. Well done maybe. Steak should NEVER be raw. Lol

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Notable Replies

  1. For me it’s best slow-cooked with ground cardamom pods, onion, tomatoes, garam masala and lots of freshly ground pepper.

    Really enjoyed reading about Laurence and imagining his life in Uganda. It never occurred to me the problems that legitimate buyers must have with e-commerce. It’s very impressive that he is working to find a solution.

  2. Very special creature…
    These lines speak more than enough for the future gen.

    What’s your dream job?
    I am doing it. Learning, teaching and sharing what I know.

    Good job there Laurence.

  3. I’m proud to announce my 1/4 Ugandan heritage but c’mon man, well done steak? Anything past medium rare then you ain’t never had a true steak :wink:

  4. Well, I agree with you on the steak. :slight_smile:

  5. It’s always interesting to see what part of the profile gets the most attention. I think “steak” is the winner here! :cut_of_meat::+1:

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