Monday, October 20, 2014

Fixing Subsaharan Africa the Redneck Way

I've been here long enough to see that some simple products could go a long way to repairing many things here.  I've also been here long enough to know that not all really good ideas come from a working group or an official team.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying these are good ideas.  These are just things I think most Ugandans would find damned handy in their daily lives.  So here's a short list of items I think could really help improve the standard of living of most Ugandans.

1.     No Ugandan kitchen or office should be without the Hefty Ziploc bags that have the plastic zipper pull.  They hold most everything and keep flies where they belong -- away from food.

2.     The one, the only, the stuff that holds Alabama and Mississippi together -- Duct Tape.

3.    This can fix all those cheesy Chinese made locks that aren't made of stainless steel as they should be.  The beauty of WD-40 is that it is not so viscose as to make the lock easy to pick after you have lubricated it.

4.  Loctite saved my fanny many, many times as a manufacturing engineer.  That and it's darker cousin called "Black Max" could fix anything plastic or metal that had broken.  Subsaharan Africa needs about 30 metric tons of this stuff for every manufacturing facility opened here.

5.   The Leatherman tool should be given to every student who graduates from S4 (that's the 4th year of high school).  If a student graduates from S6 (the two extra years of high school to prepare for the university), the then student gets the French Army version of this tool which includes a corkscrew.  These things can fix anything.

Send your additions via the comments section.  One of my next posts will be about all the cheap and simple things that can be done to make hospitals around these parts safe and sanitary.