Saturday, 13 June 2009

Mast is up!

Despite the Friday before last holiday being a public holiday in Kaduna State to respect the recent death in London of a former Chief of Army Staff, I travelled to Kwoi with our supervisor of accounts Mack, and microfinance field officer Sarah to disburse to two groups of clients; and back at Fantsuam they began to raise the new mast.

Fantsuam Foundation’s Zittnet department is one of only two internet service providers in Kafanchan, a town of I believe several hundred thousand. The radios on the mast provide services to three of the four local internet cafes as well as to local health clinics. In addition the provision of these services on a commercial basis helps Fantsuam to fund its own services on which the organisation runs, but more importantly, with which it trains the 500 or so students per year in its Computer Learning Centre to use the internet.

The mast falling on 21 April was a terrible, and expensive event, however Fantsuam moved immediately and dug deep into its scarce reserves to ensure that services were returned as soon as possible. Previously deep concrete foundations had been dug, and well watered by the rain, made a robust base for the new 160 ft mast. When we left for Kwoi on the morning of Friday 29 May, construction had not yet started however as we returned in the evening the mast was almost completed with only two sections remaining.

The 10ft foundation pit is filled with concrete. The sections arrive from Kaduna for installation and slowly but surely the mast reaches for the sky.

Once the mast was up, ZittNet's staff were shimmying up and down the mast to install the lightning conductor, aviation light and radios. New more powerful radios were added that enables Fantsuam to offer 'hotspot' services to clients around Kafanchan. Right now we need to try everything that we can to get back the money to pay for our new, higher mast.
Most importantly though - Kafanchan's No.1 Internet Service Provider is back in business!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cecil!

Woo-who!! Reminds me of the good old days back in Australia. I once climbed a mast like this (albeit only 40m or 130 foot)as part of my indcution into a stint in the field with some engineers and the thing swayed like you would not believe in the breeze although it was guy roped on all four sides. Fingers crossed this sturdy looking one stays in place and provides all the services you mention.

Great news.

Jared xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Cicely,

am I spotting Bala up there on the mast? And I am sure that Gabriel had to climb the beast, too?!

I'm glad you're back up again. I know how important that connection is ;o)

Greetings from Germany

Lizzy said...

Hooray! Great to see the mast back up. Well done everyone.