To make matters more difficult, we couldn't download the software directly onto the PC we have designated as the school server, because we don't have internet at the school. Instead, we had to download the software onto a flash drive or CD, then install it from that onto the server. We tried this several different times, even brought in computer specialists, but we always got an error message that the files were incomplete. Without internet service, we couldn't finish the installation. I was pulling my hair out.
I still haven't been able to find any answers to why the software wouldn't install properly. But, after sending information about our situation to the OLPC server development list serve (email@example.com), David Leeming in Papua New Guinea contacted me with general advice for setting up a server for the XO laptops. He faces a situation in PNG very similar to ours and has written up detailed instructions for installing the server software. Hopefully this will help.
This time around, I'm going to practice installing the server software here in the U.S. before going over to Lesotho. That way, I can learn how to do it where I have access to the internet, and I can contact David and others for help when I run into problems.
Unfortunately, because of the difference in voltage in electrical systems in the U.S. and Lesotho (120V vs. 240V), I can't take a U.S. PC with the XS software already installed over to Lesotho. (Unlike laptops, which can operate on either 120V or 240V, U.S. PCs require 120V.) So, I will still have to install the XS software on the school's Lesotho PC, without internet service, when I get there in January 2013.
Keeping my fingers crossed that it works this time around,