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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Power and a boat!!

Submitted by: Capt Yaw

December bites with a massive bush fire to warm our faces and burn the hairs off of our arms - and that has been our day! In fact the last two days we have been grounded at times due to smoke and ash in the air. It will (we hope) soon be a relief to have water on the field ... some when in the near-ish future, but the good news is that we do now have a decent power solution (which may open up the possibility of a bore hole....), which has been supported by the Vitol Charitable Foundation. Their assistance and encouragement has been an essential part of the early installation works of our long awaited building programme 'The MoM Multi-Purpose Building - including a Simple clinic and treatment room with integrated accommodation' - which we refer to as B3/4 (meaning Building 3 and 4 - because it was once designed to be two buildings, but has been integrated to one...) , we extend our heartfelt thanks to all at Vitol and the Foundation for their interest and support of this project.

In true MoM style we work hard to make our impact sustainable, and therefore the AvTech girls were the 'electrical installers' - including running cables from the truck. We could not afford a 4 core cable, so purchased over 1000m of 4 x wire 25mm2 and had the girls hand pull it in 2inch pipe, setting it in the trenches, concreted over where necessary and buried in sand where possible. Lydia made good use of both arms in this project, for the first time she did so naturally... The active involvement of the girls in the installations is expanding their knowledge and also empowering them to maintain and upgrade the systems in future years. How many people do you know who can explain a three phase power installation and have basic concepts of balancing the loads? Well, they do!

The footings for for B/4 are all dug, the steel pillar columns manufactured on site, and the starter pads (also made on site) ready to drop in. Making on site is cost effective and also allows us to 'strategise' the use of materials more carefully than outsourcing... and it is more timely!.... We also have 20m3 of stones and 18m3 of sand sitting next to the foundations with 2000 5inch blocks - ready for the arrival of long awaited (and costly) cement in the coming days... Having power on hand to assist with the building will speed up many aspects of the construction, including flood lights to allow us to work longer hours in order to meet our looming deadlines. We expect the building to be at slab level before the year end, weather, materials and support permitting... we hope part of it will enter to service in early Feb.... that is a a tall order in these parts!

As you all know, MoM is supported extensively by WAASPS, the social entrepreneurship that is synonymous with MoM. One of WAASPS clients, the Volta Lake Transport Company, recently requested some repairs to a small boat. Those repairs have been overseen and led by MoM volunteer Tony, an experienced 'repair man'. He has taught the girls fibre-glass work (they have since made a fairing for the wind-shield of the MoM CH701 aircraft) and Juliet and Emmanuella have participated a great deal in the resin and fibre works. Lydia is not able to do all of the jobs due to her disability, but was selected to train in the spraying work - that transformation from off white to BRIGHT orange... she also painted some smiley faces in the spraying booth - to demonstrate her circular control of the gun, I am told.

The work on this boat has helped WAASPS to move forwards with the stones and sand mentioned above, as well as to bring in an extra mason to speed up build... but better still, this boat will be made available as possible to MoM for its work on the lake... so, HEV 1 will be a loan boat... thanks to all at the VLTC!

We are told time and time again that we should not start projects until we have all the things in place to complete them. That is really good advice, but we are ever conscience that If we took that approach we would never have achieved anything - prices jump 20% overnight so we need to 'put down' materials as we can, carefully choosing the steps we do - and often working multiple projects simultaneously - which may give the outside an impression of chaos - but hopefully 'organised, planned and carefully executed chaos!'. As we step out in the quest to achieve the impossible, we are constantly amazed at how a grant here, an extra job there, a loan of equipment for this or that, , support for a vehicle and some technical advice that is out of our own set of skills, all seem to come together.... it is not without its moments of heart stopping and a little stress... but one thing it has surely made us, is a lean operation where every cent of every dollar is used many times over.

Thanks to all who have, are and soon will support these and other projects at MoM!

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