Lore Ahnert-Böckler
Martin Ahnert

P.O.Box 777

Travel Report Mlalo / Lushoto

6.-9.12. 2008

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Another puncture...

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On the way up the mountain Seguruma passing the church in Mlalo

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This is the SYI electricity meter supplying the transmitter with power

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Faultfinding ot the earth cable

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Here someone tried to plant a banana tree

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A cup of hot tea gives new energy

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A fire gap between the vegitation prevents bush fires to fry the cable again running to the tansmitter

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Excahanging the cable which has too  many cuts

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Service work at the transmitter hut

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Fiew towards the Amani mountains / Tanga




We arrived in Mlalo around 17:00. We then  contacted the evangelical Lutheran congregation immediately and talked with the Evangelist.

The pastor was still on safari, but we could get accommodation in the guest house of the Diocese.

The next day, we started to search for the cable fault together with Mzee Bendera right at the electricity meter. It is in a wooden box located right in the house of a church elder of the congregation. We installed a miniature circuit breaker to protect the cable at future shorts. This is much better than the fuse wire in the main switch can do. (There is danger if it is bridged by ordinary wire!). Since we found a deadly short in the wire, we had to limit the current by a light bulb.

We were connecting the two halves of the earth cable in the middle after 500 metres, when burring it. So we got up to that point - Mzee Bendera still knew that point- and opened the line. Still the deadly short was still present, and the problem must have been at a lower position. We checked the point, where a crater scratched the cable when digging the road. But this connection was still all right.. The fault was still lower. We checked all suspicious holes in the soil made recently in the soil until we found one with the disconnected cable at the bottom. Someone had tried to plant a banana tree and hit the cable at the bottom. After connecting and insulating the link cable in the hole, we could reconnect all other openings of the ground cable.

But another short circuit was obvious at a higher point, where the cable continues over head. Since the rain got too heavy and the electricity was gone, we returned to the guest house around 4:30pm.

The next day we went straight up to the end of the ground cable and the start of the over head cable. Following it carefully, we found a portion which had been connected often previously. We took it down from the poles and replaced it with the 100 metres we came with.

After putting it back with clips on the steel wire, and pulling it up the poles, we moved further up until we found a piece of about 50 m which had been burnt by a bush fire. Samuel had repaired it already in earlier times, but we feared it might get a short cut in the near future, because the wires were already dislocated badly. We took a good piece of the cable we had removed further down and replaced it. We further climbed up until we met the point, where the cable was pulled up on the bare steep rock. Since we could not climb that with all our tools, we went across the wood, until we found the normal trail up the Seguruma mountain.

At the transmitter hut we did the normal routine service work:

- cleaning the transmitter hut

- cleaning all the fans

- adjusting the battery water

- checking all the wiring

- measuring all data and comparing them with the previous one to recognise imminent trouble at an early stage.

The rain started again, while we moved down again. We had a cup of tea with Mzee Bendera at his home and hoped the rain would stop. Instead, it became worse, and we had to descend down to the guest house, arriving there soaked to the skin around 7:30 pm.

The congregation pastor invited us for supper. We talked about caring for the electricity line by the congregation. He wanted to organise a team to care for it. But he also said, it would take some time until every one in the congregation supports it as a project of the congregation. The Pastor had been serving in Muheza before, and strongly supports the idea of getting a transmitter for the Amani mountains.




Since we could not hear the small transmitter serving Lushoto on air, when we passed by the next day, we thought it would be a good idea to ask about it in the Diocese. The small transmitter is located in a private residental house of the Diocese. Unfortunately we could not see the General Secretary of the Diocese. But we were very glad the Bishop took his time to talk about this topic.

He told us he will do the follow up to move this transmitter from the present staff house to a better location up the mountain, especially where all the phone companies already have their transmitters. This location could cover all the way from Soni down to the road passing through Mombo.