All, I am sorry I have not posted in a while ... ok a long while. Things have been a bit busy and internet until recently has made it difficult to even surf the net.
Things are going well in Southern Sudan. Both projects (Kapoeta and Maridi)are almost ready to energize and much work and training has been accomplished.
In Kapoeta with the help of Pat Hayes, Marvin, Taylor, Aaron, and Cody, we were able to train around 25 folks to climb and build lines. Taylor Wimberly, remained in Kapoeta and is working the clean up and secondary we did not complete before moving to Maridi.
In Maridi, Aaron Sutherland and Cody Coulter, were joined by John Padilla (Of the New Mexico Paddilla clan) and later two Volunteers, Victor Muhammad and Jerry Rodgers. Aaron and Cody using previously trained crews and some new trainees, completed the system in record time. All but Aaron will be leaving for the USA next week ... If I can get a charter flight out for them.
As part of our work I asked for and received some donated tools, boots and other equipment. One person asked that he only wanted posting of a photo in return. He dontated a NICE belt with Backsaver. I almost took it for my own but .. alas, that might be concidered cheating so you huys will see the photo's included. One of Job his first try at climbing. Look close! the other of Gibson as he worked the wite pull.
Take care all, I will try to post more as weeks go by. Thanks always for your support.
Pretty cool to see my belt getting used halfway around the world. Was going to make a little "display" with that thing but the pics will have more of a story. I can wonder from time to time where she'll be and doing.
Let Job know that thing will work better if ya turn it right side up
Gotta while longer on the hooks here. This project has 1 more year and after the CPA referendum this and other new projects might get funded. We (NRECA) will contnue to support the Co-ops after Donar funding runs out but they will need a lot of assistance if they are going to be Viable.
When I energize here in Maridi the cost per KWH will be about $0.50 USD. And even that is subsidized until we get enough consumers to pay the bills. I'll post a few. All is not work ...... But even play is an effort here. Most of my phot's are too big but I'll reduce some and upload some more.
Job turned into one of our best hands. He will be running contractor crews on our future projects. The belt has not been "issued" here. It's in use as needed. Truth is, there have been at least 20 people who used it at one time or another. I am looking for just the right person ... I have "Her" picked out. Yep folks I have a female linehand. Pretty too. Takes no prisoners. I'd guess she has more muscle than most boxers and is about as quick.
Boots, belts, tools, all are needed. I issued my last set of kliens today.... it was my personal pair. I still have a belt and hooks but use the tools from the crews when in the air.
Jerry Rodgers and the crews from Lane Electric cooperative donated a bunch of shirts, hats, some hand tools and !!!! 6 pairs of climbing boots. I am trying to determine who to pass the boots out to... the tools are already in use.
It's not all work here but the work we do is the old way. We did get a digger derrick in January but poles are still piked when required. We rarely use the digger to dig holes, only to set the poles. I try to hire locals to dig, it creates jobs. Diggers get the equivilant to $10.00 per hole and if they dig thier butts off they can dig 3 or 4 holes a day.
John Padilla, Cody Coulter and Jerry Rodgers wll be leaving me soon (Tuesday) to return to the USA. Aaron will take a few days off in Kampala then return for about 2 months more work here in Maridi. Some more snap shots.
Well another week has passed. Jerry Rodgers, a fine hand, left on Thursday. Aaron Sutherland returned from a few days off in Kampala. Aaron has continued to install transformers on the system prior to energization. He did get to set a critical pole today that has had us on hold for completing feeder West. It was a rock hole that after 12 days with a jack hammer, they finally made it deep enough to satisfy me.
Cody Coulter is back in Idaho and I would guess that sometime today, John Padilla of the Moro New Mexico Padilla clan, will also arrive home. The crew is thinning.
Of other note durring the week, our generators arrived with little damage. See picture ... Now I have to build a "Cat" house!
Been a long week. It's not over either. Tomorrow I pull wire from the low side of the substation pots to the gensets. Should be a *****.
This week Aaron and his crew mostly hung pots. 3 three phase banks and about 10 single phase pots. He also finally set the pole by the hospital. **** hole took 13 days with a jack hammer to get to 4 feet. Two more less critical holes to go.
Folks We now have a power company. I have 13 meters connected as of today. Only 5 are hooked to the generator but hey... I only have a 17 kw to push power right now. The 440 KW units are still being uncrated. Hopefully we will smoke test them around the 20th and I can connect all customers. I hope to have at least 20 more connects by then. I plan on about 50 by the end of the year. We'll see.
On a side note I actually did my first billing this week. I billed two power customers a total of about $60.00 US and the town for street lights for about $250 for street lighting. (21 street lights.) I'll add more as they learn how to pay.
Not too bad for an old clumsome from Idaho.
Thanks all for keeping up with the saga of rural electrification in Southern Sudan.
I have enjoyed your story and I can see where the challenge would be rewarding. I imagine you have had a few frustrations along the way. It looks very rural and I was wondering why the vests and then to have two colors must represent something. Merry Christmas to you!