Tanzania Update

Thursday and Friday were Mapinduzi days. Bill concentrated on improvements to the plumbing of the ‘short-term solution’, while I looked at the fuel consumption of the gen-set – which is an 11 kW unit similar to what many Americans have in the house as a reserve. We had been told it was using 4.25 litres per hour, which cost so much it could hardly be covered by the 100/- per bucket which is what is charged – and which is far more than it should be using. And because of the shortage of money – don’t ask me to explain this exactly – they have only been pumping two days per week: so at least we could work on the engine (and the plumbing) without anybody getting disappointed that they weren’t getting any water. Actually, it turned out to be using 2.5 litres per hour, but that’s still much too much. We arranged for a technician, a friend of Asheri’s – Asheri is our driver this week, and one could not hope to find a better guy – and I must say that he has learned a lot more English in the three years since I first met him than I have learned Swahili – and he (the technician) came to Mapinduzi on Friday. He soon realised there was fuel getting into the oil, and it didn’t take long before there were parts all over the pump-house floor, the cylinder head was off, and we were on the way back to Dodoma to find a new seal for the inlet valve: which it shouldn’t have needed after only 100 hours operation. It took ages to find what was needed, but finally we got back to Mapinduzi. It took an hour and a half to reassemble the engine, and another half-hour to find the source of a fuel leak and correct it. It was getting dark when we finished. We will find out in a couple of days how much the fuel consumption has improved.

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