Saturday, February 22, 2014

Eight Days a Week - Week Three

When you're on a short-term assignment like this, it's hard to figure out what's a work day and what isn't. There's just more work to do than hours in a day.

I thought this morning would be a quiet day to catch up on a few things, but that's before I found out a big truck was arriving with not only a load of fencing material for the ASAM farm, but also with my new air compressor for the shop. So that meant being up at 7a.m. to supervise the unloading.
The week has been a full one as we continue to work on the mezzanine deck for the shop, as well as continue doing maintenance and training in the mechanical end of things. Here are some candid shots of the week's activities.
There's also more wood turning going on almost daily. Here is the newest wood turner, Felix, with a couple of items he made on Friday.
So the work continues. Thanks for checking in - I'll have more next week!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Week Two - Getting into it

 The second week is usually when the work really starts to happen big time - the team (me) gets oriented, the lay of the land is surveyed (what! the electrical system is screwed up how bad?), and the project supplies and their invoices begin to arrive on site (hey, I only ordered steel, not gold).

Here are a few of the highlights (thanks to Paul Middleton and Alta Rauch for lending me some of their photos):
Building shelving in the storage rooms
The beginnings of the shop bay doors
Building the first workbench (watch your fingers, Paul)
The "finished" bench
Giving a lesson on electric motors and power tool repair
Watching Gabriel work on a bowl
A recent wood lathe creation
Prosper is glad the Ford is now finished, with a new clutch and new rear brakes
Alta Rauch, the truck "owner" is also happy to see the progress!
Another lesson on power tool repair
Okay. Any questions?
The one question I had was how I could get malaria so quickly? I came down sick Wednesday, but fortunately got started on the treatment right away, so today (Saturday) I'm doing quite well.

A few words of thanks: 
Thanks again to Tim and Ian from CDX Global for the tool donation. That blue tool box shows up everywhere around here now because it's actually full of good quality, useful tools. Prosper polishes them every night before he puts them away. 

And to Frank and the folks back at AC Motor Electric where I work in Canada, those testing meters are getting a lot of use - very glad I brought them along.

Thanks to all of you for following our work here in Africa. Your involvement helps us keep changing lives, one skill at a time.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Week One - Arriving

Time for a recap of week 1 at the ASAM farm in Mozambique.  

The flight in went very well, as we had the luxury of being transported in Mercy Air's new Kodiak. What a great plane, capable of large cargo loads and six passengers, plus the two pilots, John and Paul. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to land directly at ASAM's new airstrip due to some ongoing political issues. But our hosts quickly made arrangements to pick us up, so we still made it "home" in time for supper.

The days here are busy and there's no shortage of broken things to fix. Word is out that I’ll be training the fellows on how to repair electric motors, pumps, and power tools. As a result, the mound of broken tools and appliances is growing daily.

We've been having a LOT of rain lately, but thanks to the new shop, we’re managing to stay high and dry.  However, the rain can be quite noisy on the tin roof, as we discovered when devotions got moved to the shop on a particularly wet morning. 

In spite of that, Nigel, our visiting vicar from England (a former mechanic himself) did a great job getting his message across, even to the point of using the repair pit to illustrate the day when he was baptized as a young child.

Prosper has been busy replacing the clutch on a small pick-up truck, while I’ve been teaching Vasco and Revy the basics of repairing electric motors and power tools. I am extremely impressed by Prosper’s work ethic, as well as his dedication to his role at ASAM. He is one of those rare young men, a natural born leader with amazing character and dedication.
The blue box of tools donated by CDX are very popular!
The new clutch in place

The metal needed for the bay doors project will arrive next week, so it will be full steam ahead with lots of welding and fabricating to do. The storage rooms are now completed, which means we can begin storing all the shop equipment and tools in one place. What a blessing not to have to search the entire farm to try and find a “borrowed” tool that innocently found a new home in someone’s closet or vehicle tool kit!
Rick demonstrating his phone camera function to Tome (yes, the vehicle was stopped at the time)
That wraps it up for now. Thanks for following along, and for the positive thoughts and prayers. Stay tuned; there's more to come!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

On The Road Again

Ever get the urge to say, "It's Sunday; I must be in Africa"? 

Well, maybe you don't, but that's what it is for me. I arrived in Johannesburg Wednesday night after some long but manageable flights, and it's been non-stop ever since.
Thursday morning, I met with Ian Andrew from CDX Global, the creators of the automotive training material that I use in Mozambique. The good folks from CDX donated an amazing set of mechanics tools to our program and had them shipped to Nelspruit where we could load them on the plane for our trip in tomorrow. 

It was great to finally meet Ian and Kevin in their "digs" in Joburg where they do all their hard work creating training curriculum for automotive students in South Africa. Thanks, guys! There'll be some pretty happy students once these tools arrive.
Tools donated by CDX Global
As mentioned, I fly into Mozambique tomorrow morning (Monday, February 3rd). This time we'll be using the Mercy Air Kodiak, and it's huge. True to form, I've been loading everything onto it that I can, to the point where the pilot is threatening to ban breakfast in the morning due to weight restrictions.
Mercy Air pilot Paul Middleton doing some pre-flight checks
So I'm signing off from South Africa, and my next update will be from Mozambique. Thanks for following along!