Friday, May 30, 2008

Made it to Dar & Pictures

Made it back to Dar and in my room at the Holiday Inn. What a pleasure to not have to share the room and bathroom with someone. The flight went well took some more pictures. Will be leaving here tomorrow at 10:00 AM.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 11 ~ Last Day in Buzwagi

My last day at Buzwagi, I am ready to get back to civilization but also wish I could have done more. Everyone has told me how great the training was, but I wish I could have done better. This class (#3) has impressed me the most. I have stayed on one subject repeated time and time again till they start to understand.

Fred is still in the hospital showing little improvement there is talk of life-flighting him to South Africa if he doesn't start improving. Steve form New Zealand will be leaving today to return to his family. He's the one that told Fred he had Malaria and should get to the doctor. I ask how he knew before Fred did? He said he has worked in Africa almost 20 years and had malaria 17 times, and you get to recognize it. Had a good surprise for dinner last night we had steaks. They smelled great cooking but when I got one it was as tough as shoe leather and had the same taste as everything else. A comment was made that one of the oxen pulling the carts must have died.

Jerry, the operator trainer e-mailed me stating he was coming here to train the operators. He asked me all kinds of questions about the place. I could really just give a picture if I wanted, so we are going to stop in the local village and take a picture of the local hotel and send it him and tell him this is his place. Take a picture of a donkey cart and tell him this is his ride to and from the mine.

When I come and go from the camp, the guard at the office gate snaps to attention and gives me a smart salute. I always give him one return. I asked why does he do this? I was told, he thinks that I am an admiral in the U.S. Navy. I guess one of the students told him I was in the Navy from some of the private conversation we had. I gave all the students Komatsu automatic lead pencils at the start of the class, but they did not know how to make the lead come out. One asked me if I had a sharpener.

I will be leaving the camp at 6:00 am and flying to Dar at 9:00 AM. I then will fly to Amsterdam Saturday at 10:00 AM and then on to Cincinnati. I finally arrive Salt Lake at 7:00 PM on Sunday. It has been a great adventure but very tiring. My feet are just now starting to get use to wearing steel toe boots 12-14 hours a day. The people are very friendly, nice and content in their situation. The question is; who has the better life???

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 10

Just got back into the camp site after the 2nd day of class 3. Started covering the hydraulic systems. In the states this takes about 4 hours to cover all systems. Started at 7:30 AM on the steering system. I finished up around 5:00 PM (still have the brakes, grease, hoist and brake cooling to go). I decided I am going get my point across to these men. I think I went over the systems 6 times and I feel they are starting to understand. The proof will be tomorrow when I ask them for an explanation. These are great people, not an arrogant one among them. Several of the students came to me during the breaks and expressed their thanks that I go slow and answer questions. Noel said "Ba-boo you are good teacher. You don't get mad at us like the other white men because we don't understand." I guess, that compliment makes the trip a success. I have seen how the other men treat them. They say they will never learn a d--- thing they are too stupid.

Fred Owen, the mechanical project supervisor from Australia, came to the bar after work last night for a couple of drinks. Steve, who has lived in Africa for some years, said “Fred you better get to the doctor you have Malaria!"
“No mate I just got a cold" Fred replied.
The next morning Fred did not show up for breakfast. We drove over to his camp (Fred lives in another camp). He comes to ours for a hot meal of ham, bean, and rice for breakfast. He was in bed and could not move. We got him to the clinic for treatment. He started feeling better around 2:00 PM and tried to go to work. He made a couple of steps and had another attack. They put him back in bed and said he may be down for weeks. Malaria is the #1 killer of people in Tanzania (#2 is AIDS).

Nicole I may not be able to get you the Tanzanite you wanted. There is nothing around this area and I will be in Dar for short time. I was told the duty on valuable stones is quite high also. I have taken some good photos again today will send the ASAP.

Better go to dinner (beans, ham and surprise meat). They close at 8:00 PM. Love you all and Eve YES, before you ask, I am taking all of my pills.

Day 9

Started my 3rd (and final) class today. Another eight students. As with the rest of the classes these guys are eager to learn, willing to learn, very friendly, pleasant to associate with, and with a few years of hands on training and formal training they will make good technicians. I am very frustrated with myself because I cannot get the training through to them.

I have the students fill out evaluation after each class they all state the training is great they have learned much about the trucks. They want more of the same, but by my American standards the training has been a failure. I do have a few exceptions and have indicated to Pan African that they would make good site trainers in the future.

Guy (Komatsu rep.) will be leaving tomorrow after 3 months. I've known him only a week but we have become good friends. He has talked about his family in private and got quite emotional. He needs to get out of here and back to civilization for a rest. He will be off for a month and then to Russia. He said he was going to recommend that I come along.
I did find out that south of the equator, the water does go down the drain clockwise. I can take that off of my "bucket list" of things I wanted to know.

Every day when we go to work, at the front gate, 30 or 40 men are outside. I asked "Why"? I was told they are waiting for a job at the mine, which is not hiring they are fully staffed. I asked ”Don't they know that”? I was told yes they hope for the best.

Getting to and from the camp to the site is a real pain. I get up at 4:00 AM clean up, eat at 5:00 AM ride to the gate (5 of us to a car) walk thru security and get searched. Then, get back into the car, ride about 15km to the job site get out walk thru another security, get searched and back into the car. Then drive to the site have tool box safety meeting around 7:00 AM catch the mine bus (which may or may not be on time) drive to security gate get out of the bus go thru security searched back on the bus drive about 5 km to office for class room training. The miners have lunch at 12:30 PM at the office. I get a ride back to the site with the guy who brings the lunches and return to the site, get out walk through security, get searched bake in the car driven to site office, and have lunch (hams and beans or rice). After getting there I wait for my students to show up at 1:30 PM. They are all ways late due no bus drivers. I then train on the trucks till 5:00 PM., then leave the site to the gate get out go through security searched, drive back to the camp go through security searched back in the car go to my tent. I then get to take my work boots off that are killing my feet, go to the bar for a coke have dinner at 7:00 PM. Afterward I go to my tent write a few e-mails until around midnight when it cools down enough to sleep. I then wake at 4:00 AM and start over again. Great life! Guy did this for 3 months! I am thankful that I am experiencing this adventure, but 3 months would be too long.

I look forward to getting back to civilization. I think I could take this off my "bucket list” also. I will write again tomorrow. Love you all and I am OK.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pictures and Videos

click on images to enlarge

headed to church

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 7 & 8

5:00 AM
The internet was down at the camp all night so I missed reporting on my fun here in Africa. I am writing this before my class starts.

Started my second class yesterday, again a good group but they really struggle to understand (eilaywa) they are teaching me some Swahili (I hope that's the was it's spelled). The power did stay on all day which was great! I fear when the power drops off my projector bulb will burn out due no cooling (I don't have a spare). I made a CD for one of the students in the first class on the manuals and course content. Today I have copied about 12 CDs for them so far, but no one has a computer to use the CDs. I guess they feel some day they may have one. No manuals yet, still in customs in Dar (going on the 4th week) so I have to draw lots of circuits and items on the white board which eats up a lot of time. Very hot on the trucks yesterday. I had 5 students in the cab at once checking out the monitor. The cab has room for only two comfortablely. I told them to go in two at a time and I will show each of them in order. Before I knew it all 5 students were in the cab, wanting to know what was going on. In the states you tell the troops to wait in order they all disappear.

7:00 PM
Had a good session in the classroom with class #2 today. I feel that 3 of the 5 are starting to understand (eilaywa). In the afternoon the students asked if they could leave early, I said no we need to work on the trucks, so please be at the site after lunch. I asked why they need to be off the reply was "Sunday we do our laundry, the water is turned on". Later on I was told the city water lines are pressurized for a few hours on Sunday. I felt bad, I should have said to go. Got to the site and the truck we were to train on was not ready and we could not have it. I called them and said go home for the rest of the day. "Thank you BA-boo, thank you very much"

Nicole tell your friend I may not be able to send a post card, but I will try. Around 2:30 PM Guy who has the car we drive back and forward said we will take the rest of the day and go into town for a drink. So, five of us went into town. I got some great video of the area, great photos, and good conversations with the people. We went into a store I was looking for a postcard, but the were none around and the clerk has never even heard of postcards. Went to a bar and asked for a diet Coke, got a regular one. The temperature was around 90 and so was the coke. The same so was the beer the others got. Talked to some Masa warriors that come to town to shop. The town (about 10,000 population) has dirt roads, raw sewage running in ditches on the side of the road and garbage all over. Went to another bar and met a man from Australia (Steward) who was contracting building houses for the future supervisor at the mine and had a great conversation with him. He had with him some of his local workers. One of his men (Jerry) was an electrician had lots of things to talk to him about. He asked were I was from and I told him America, "I have meet many people from other countries you are the first American. He asked me many question about the U.S. and the most common question I am asked "I love George Bush, will you ask him to let me come to America and work? My wife and two small boys would love you always". We had to leave the town to get back to camp where there is a curfew that starts at 7:00 PM. Going to dinner will send the pictures when I get back.

Love you all and I am OK

Trip to Kahmar

The car wash

This is the car for Komatsu. Five of us reps get to use this to get to and from work. Vehicles are very rare here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Click on images to enlarge

2nd Training Class

In field training

Tool box safety instructions

Bugwazi Dinning ~ Steve's send off