Africa Blog Week 3
This past week has been pretty exciting. On Saturday we hiked mount Bisoke, a dormant volcano with a lake on top. We hiked through a jungle in order to get to the top. It was a pretty incredible experience. The entire trek was covered in mud which made it one of the most challenging physical activities I have done since football. Every step we were fighting for foot placement, most of the time the foot would slide back or be a few inches deep in mud which made the 900m hike pretty tough. (Pictures included of the hike). We left Kigali (our home) at 4am and drove 2.5hrs to the base of the mountain. I couldn’t sleep on the way there so for the first time I truly saw the land of 1000 hills. I tried to take pictures on the car but they turned out pretty rough. Next weekend we are planning to do a Safari!
This week we ventured to the hospitals in Kigali in order to start gaining experience working there. We split into two groups and my group went to Kinombe, a military hospital. Monday we stayed on campus and worked in the biomedical engineering workshop going over equipment we could see in the hospital. Then we toured the hospital. On Tuesday we began our work. Our first piece of equipment was an O2 pump. This machine draws in air and pressurizes it while filtering O2. We were told to do preventive care on the machine so we cleaned it all out. After turning it on we noticed it wasn’t running right so we started our troubleshooting methods we learned. We quickly found out the battery was dead which caused the alarm to not sound whenever there was a problem. As soon as we finished, Andy, a student from Germany, noticed a broken chair sitting in the room and quickly went over to begin working on it. There was just 1 bolt missing so we scanned the shop for a spare bolt, nut and washer lying around and fixed the chair. The last machine we worked on was a vacuum pump. The purpose of the machine is to clean out fluids from any sort of operation. We had a lot of help on this one with the leader of the program. The motor initially didn’t turn on so we began out troubleshooting starting with the power supply then checking each of the wires all the way to the off/on switch. After getting to the switch without doing anything but jiggle the wires and check to ensure everything was connected, the pump turned on. Our leader says that sometimes all the wiring needed was a jiggle to be put back into place. After the pump turned on the suction was not very strong. So we began checking all the tubing to ensure there were no leaks. Once we ruled out leaks we took apart the motor to see if it needed to be cleaned. Sure enough there was a wad of debris stuck in the vacuum that we cleaned out. Now the suction was strong but the pressure gauge was not working. Once again we checked the tubing for leaking and found a lot of residue that we cleaned out. The gauge still was not working so we took began adjusting the gauge settings and sure enough it started to work. The whole process from start to finish took approximately 2 hrs. It was an incredible experience and I learned so much about the troubleshooting process. On Monday and Tuesday we venture to the Community Hospital of Kigali to do more supervised work. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us!
Prayer request: Next week my partner and I will be on our way to a very small rural town in Kigali named Bushenge. I realized today how blessed I was to have an english church I could visit, I am nervous about what this next town has to offer. Also prayers for protection from negative thoughts,home sickness and depression would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!