11 December 2013

Incommunicado

The Long Walk to Communication

On the night of 6th October our telephone cables were stolen.
There was a 700 metre length strung between the poles from the road, across the fields and down to our offices. Now the only purpose served by the poles seems to be as somewhere for our resident Crested Eagle to perch.
Two months later Telkom came, on a Sunday, with a big JCB and a load of men and dug a trench alongside the airstrip into which they threw a cable. Problem was that the cable wasn't quite long enough and stopped a good 100m short of where it was supposed to end up. How hard can it be to measure 700m accurately?
This is how short the first attempt was.
If we misjudged distance like that it would be called landing short of the runway and would cost us a few million dollars and possible a life or two.

So another week goes by before the missing metres are replaced. Then after another week we get a message that Telkom aren't going to sort the problem out cos they can't afford to replace cables that are stolen so often. 'But this is the first time our cables have been stolen and you've already dug a hole and laid a new cable anyway.' Oh, OK, err we'll be down to join it all together then - thanks!

And so it happened - after a few more days, and we now have land lines and internet access.
Notice the white cable in the picture above. That was the power to the electric gate at the entrance to the farm. It was cut seven times and is still not fixed. We now have to charge the gate motor battery up each day and install it each evening to provide access security for the farm.
The interim solution was a dodgy dongle, laptop and a cell phone.
Mercy Air team