Monday, June 27, 2011

Kabale Day 1

At the end of last week, Nicholas and I made a journey down to Kabale, not to be confused with Kibale (western Uganda), in southwest Uganda near the border of Rwanda. We were headed down there to install a new Mak IV incinerator at a local composting site. After a cold, cramped, bumpy, sleepless bus ride tht lasted 7 hours, we arrived in Kabale at about 7 am Thursday morning. After breakfast Nicholas and I went with the movers to deliver the incinerator to Kirengyere Composting Site in the Kabale district. This site is sponsored, along with several other sites around Uganda, by the World Bank. A proposal for acquiring the T4T incinerator to be used for disposing of medical waste generated by the many provate clinics and hospitals in the district had been approved and funding was coming from NEMA (National Environment Management Association) in conjuction with the World Bank and from the Kabale Municipal Council. These people heard about T4T and its incinerator at an annual conference put on by Uganda's Ministry of Health on waste management.
We arrived at the composting site to piles and piles of municipal waste, somewhat sorted into paper, plastic, compostable, etc. I was surprised to hear Nicholas say that the incinerator could take care of all this waste in no more than a month, even though the incinerator was acquired primarily for the district's medical waste. Once we arrived on site, the next task was to get the incinerator off the truck and onto the concrete landing a ways away on the side of the hill. Typically this is accomplished by a crane, but because of overcharging by Kampala's local crane provider and the absence of one in Kabale, we had to resort to other means. It so happened that 14 strapping men mustered to the cause and surprisingly were able to move the incinerator to its cement throneon the hillside. Nicholas made an interesting comment that the people of Kabale's local tribe, even the women, had thereputation for being strong unlike the Bugandans (main tribe in Kampala). Once the incinerator was in place, we began filling it with sand for insulation, and soon the demonstration/training was underway. What we though was going to be a simple training session to educate the site's employees on how to operate the incinerator soon turned into demonstration for over 20 hospita administrators, doctors, and government officials who came to check out this new incinerator. The spectators seemed pretty skeptical at first as the incinerator, on it's maiden voyage and cold from its journey through the mountains, took over an hour to heat up. But once it was up to temperature, and the secondary combustion flame was humming, all were impressed with the lack of smoke in the air as load after load of medical waste was shoveled into the machine.
The demonstration was a huge success. Questions were being asked from all over the group, several people were takin notes, and at the end there were several requests for invoices. A woman who was some kind of local hospital administrator, thanked us profusely for the demonstration and for providing the community with such a great resource. I couldn't believe how well it all went.
As I was leaving, Peter, the site manager, pulled me aside in front of a group of workers from the site. They wanted to hear me talk, even though they spoke very little English, and they wanted me to take a picture of the them to remember them by Peter even decided to jump in the picture. It was a funny little encounter that topped off a great afternoon.

Here you can get a little feel for how much waste is at this place. All under that roofing is pile after pile of waste. It's going to be no small feat to get all that under control.

Almost made it to the cement landing. You can see the truck in the background where it came from. This process took almost 2 hours.

Here you can see the landing built for the incinerator. It has an ash pit dug underneath it, and the cement hut is for storing the medical waste so no one gets to it that isn't supposed to.

Group picture of the site employees.

- Stokes

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