Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 4

Today, I conducted four hours in the class room, still talking about hydraulics. The last 4 hours were spent on the trucks and a planed exercise for the students. I divided them up into teams and gave them the same incentives as I have in other classes, 100 grand candy bars. They looked at me like “What is he talking about"? This may back fire on me. I will know tomorrow.

Field Exercises

The weather has turned very hot I asked the secretary if she would fine me a fan to help cool the room down a little. After about 30 minutes she gave me a hand fan. I explained I need one that runs on power. About an hour later she got one to us and I was very thankful to her. The small room was hot! With nine bodies in close quarters it got very smelly. I moved things around so I could hook the fan up. The room has only 2 receptacles, and for American appliances it needs a special adapter to hook up to power. The fan did not have an adapter I again inquired about an adapter the reply "We don't have those". My Aussie mates said I should ask for a fan that works.

Around 4:00 AM the guard dogs were barking and going crazy. After the day was over we were told a lion may have gotten too close to the camp fence. As my Scottish pal said "most likely dispatched (killed) and the meat at tea (dinner) tonight". I think he was joking, but I'm not so sure any more.

Headed out to the mine around 5:00 AM when a spooked up jackal was running outside of the gate. Looks like a large fox. They are scavengers so maybe it's true about the lion.

As the class was doing the exercises on the trucks, the sun was beating down very hard and I got a little woozy. I was told I am not drinking enough water. I had drunk 2.5 liters that day but they told me a man my size should double that. I will do better tomorrow.

Another contractor has been waiting 2.5 months for some parts to clear customs in Dar and he was coming to a stand-still on his project. He made a comment to me and over heard by the students "This Government to deal with is a pain in the ass." About an hour later one of them asks "What is the government doing to Guy's back side?" I did not try to answer that question, so I said "I don't know". All of the contractors are white and we tell each other jokes which are funny to us but the locals just look at us. The government is very corrupt and will block any materials coming into the country, if a payment is not made under the table. My training manuals are still in customs at Dar after 2 weeks and I most likely will not see them by the time I leave.

The regional rep from Komatsu (the Scotsman) said I have created a near revolution. The locals say "The American has been here for only two days and gives out Komatsu caps; you have been here for 6 months why don't you”?

I sent my laundry out today and my friend from Indonesia said "Don't be surprised if that a shirt does not make it back. You will get it back in a couple of days. Before they wash it, they will wear it around the village as a status symbol. A new shirt every day this man must be doing well".

I keep having people come to me asking about America, "How to get there? Will you help me to get to America?"
I asked Steve from New Zealand “Why do they ask me and not you? Do I look that much different?'
He said “It's your hard hat Mate".
“My hard hat”?
"You have the U.S. flag on it, that's how they know. Next time bring a different hat".

Will close now. Love to all of you!

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