Sparks Fly

Bakers Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Sat, 27 Oct 2012 | 2 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

In the Kiwoko area we have very capable builders, painters, plasterers etc. We employ these labourers on a casual basis – when there’s work, they get work. Often teams come to Kiwoko to ‘lend a hand’ which can be a great experience for the team and encouraging for the Hospital staff, but sometimes it actually means local tradesmen are put out of work. However, sometimes we do need specific skills.

Exactly one year ago, I blogged about melting cables. We discovered some serious electrical problems in the Hospital. We carried out repairs but when we looked closer at our electrical network we discovered considerable weaknesses.

Two weeks ago an Engineering ‘Lift’ Team arrived from Northern Ireland. The team of 6 men not only included electricians but a very experienced motor mechanic – a great bonus! My dad, known as ‘Mahogany Tom’ was also on the team. Mahogany’s eagerness to work in the sun rather than indoors made it easy to explain the nickname to my Ugandan colleagues.

The team got to work on a considerable list of repairs and upgrades. Underground cables were replaced, new distribution boards were installed, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was rewired, Theatres had additional sockets and lighting installed etc etc. In the end they completed their mission with just enough time remaining to visit Tania’s craft shop.

While the electrician’s were busy on the wards, the team mechanic, Ivor, was busy working with our hospital mechanic checking our fleet of 13 vehicles. These vehicles have been bouncing around our questionable roads for up to 17 years.

Our mechanic, James, speaks very good English, but Ivor helped him with some new phrases, such as:

“How many miles are up on ‘er?” (Has this vehicle been in service for long?)

“Don’t be runnin away with my writin stick nigh would ye!?” (You can borrow my pen but I would like to have it back.)

“I’m cooked!” – (Boysadear, it’s hot!)

Not only did this Engineering team carry out some vital work in the Hospital, they also taught our engineers some new skills. However, I think they will admit to being surprised by the technical ability of the team here – some new techniques will soon be introduced in Ireland!

During these 2 weeks the Irish team worked brilliantly together with our team of Ugandan engineers. There was never a sense of ‘we’re here to show you how to do it’ – both teams were very capable and quickly became one.

Through this experience I have discovered that a team bringing specific skills for a specific job can benefit mission projects in a major way. The engineers I work with everyday in Kiwoko Hospital really appreciated the help but most of all they were blown away by the fact that this group of six men gave up two weeks of their time to help them. It was such an encouragement. They frequently see medical professionals visit to assist and train our medical staff but this is the first time engineers have come to help them and invest in their work.

In the words of Tonny (one of our Engineers); “…when we look at these cables and equipment we will remember how you have helped us.”

David, Andrew M, Andrew C, Bob, Ivor and Mahogany Tom – Thank you!



Aart said Sat, 27 Oct 2012 03:21PM
Great to hear good news from your team, our dutch builders have just left with similar experiences. Hope your lift team was also a great help and encouragement to you as the "chief overall engineer" All the best from Arua

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