Travel Report for Kidia

26.May 2009

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Temba is cutting a thick branch of the tree right on the way

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The car refuses to go any further

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We continue to climbe to the transmitter site

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Refiuiling the DIesel tanks

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Inspecting the antennas

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A candybar returns the energy needet to returnto the car

We had to take care again of the main transmitter station in Kidia on Tuesday. Since the solar panels have been stolen we have to go up to Kidia every Month to make sure the generator does not run out of fuel. This time we made sure Deo, the fellow technician and deacon of the studio came with us. His knowledge should be up to date if something fails while I am on holidays in Germany.

The driver of the studio, Temba took me, and the deacon Deo up the mountain. On the way we filled 5 carry cans with Diesel. The road up to Old Moshi and then through Kidia wit the old Missionary church, takes about one hour. Then we had to stop at the gate of the Kilimanjaro National Park to register with the Guards. From there it is still 6km to get up to nearly 2500m to our transmitter site.

On the way we met our watchmen coming to help us to carry the diesel. After about 4 km we could not continue driving the car because a tree had fallen down. We had to cut it and remove it first. Every meter you can ride in the car helps a lot, if there are 170 kg of fuel to be carried in addition to a ladder and tools.

But not very far above we came to a point, where pushing the car and digging the wheels did not help any more. We had to finish the remaining 2km by foot carrying all we brought along.

I took the tools; Deo the ladder; the two watchmen and our driver Temba each of them carried a fuel tank. The two watchmen had arrived before me and Deo. We put the ladder on the building, opened the   safety door and the grill inside. Then we refuelled the diesel drums inside using the diesel cans already there.

Then we serviced the generator and the computer control with switch clock and telemety unit. Also the data of the transmitter and the batteries are written down on a form for future reference. We went up the antenna mast and checked the remaining solar panes, its wiring and the antennas.

We had some trouble twice the last month, that the transmitter had a strong hum modulation. But we could not find any fault on the antenna or the transmitter. Since we got an SWR alarm the antenna must have increased its SWR and the regulating circuit of the transmitter was oscillating.

Meanwhile the watchmen went down again and  got the remaining carry cans and found Temba with strong chest pain on the road. Cutting the thick tree with the panga and carrying the heavy load had been too much! We were very much worried it could be a mild heart attack! The watchmen helped him to carry the diesel and slowly he recovered.

The watchmen complained about the rangers forcing them even to look after the trees. When we came to the Rangers office of TANAPA I asked to be shown the one in charge. He told me that other rangers came all the way from Machame, and they found  a large area of knocked down trees not far from our transmitter station. They guessd, that our watchmen were some of those poachers stealing tropical timber in the rain forest. But the one from Kidia Ranger station defended them. All he had asked them was to report at the gate when they were going up or down and to report him if they heard any suspect noises, like falling trees or the cutting of a tree. And he did not understand why they did not report it since the place was close by, and they must have heard it! In no way did he want them to follow the poachers, but just to report them! And that could be done easily, if they had nothing   to hide!

We came back to the Studio around 17 hours, returned the ladder and keys and reported to the head of the technical department what had happened.