Telephone system: progress so far

Before I arrived in Kisiizi, I kept telling myself (and anyone else who would listen) that I was prepared for the fact that things move slowly here; that my expectation of meeting self-imposed ‘milestones’ on my projects should be lower.

Digging trenches for telephonesI don’t think I’m doing very well on that front: every day, I lament the things which take way longer that necessary (like requisitioning a ball of string from the stores – a half-hour experience with 3 signatures required).

Nevertheless, I can see progress which is nice. Gideon arrived from Kampala with almost all the cable we’ll need to complete the telephone system, and we agreed that we would start by laying one trunk line to a doctor’s house – which in turn means that we can wire up most of the hospital and a good proportion of the accomodation.

We’ve decided to bury the cables. There’s just too much chance of them being damaged if they’re strung overhead. An over-full 4×4 (where you least expect one), an errant tree branch, non-accidental damage: the perils are numerous.

In the UK, we’d probably hire a mini-digger for a couple of days to dig a 2-foot-deep, 8-inch-wide trench over a few hundred yards. Here, it’s the job of several men wielding ‘hoes’ (actually, they’re more like picks, but for digging). They’ve worked really quickly and have done a neat job – only damaging one intersecting sewage pipe which was easily repaired.

Next week, we’ll lay the trunk cabling in plastic conduit, place a line of bricks on top (to make damaging the conduit more difficult) and bury the lot.

Hopefully, the grass will grow back in time for the jubilee celebrations in a few weeks’ time…

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