Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saving the Safari

As I mentioned earlier, the tour vehicles in the Maasai Mara have CB radios installed. This lets the drivers report what animals are being spotted where and what roads are in good condition or not. I am sure it lets the drivers talk about other things as well, but since my KiSwahili is limited to habari, I couldn't say what else is being said.

Our CB had two main wires plugging into it. One had red wires and an end that reminds me of an ethernet cable. I think that this connected the CB to the car battery...or to a power source in some way. I could be wrong. Clearly Cale knows better than I do.

The other had a thick black wire that once ended it something that looked like a large mic jack. I assume this is what connected the huge antennae on the back of the van to the CB. I say once ended because it no longer did. Instead it now ended in a jumble of exposed copper wires that were twisted together and jammed into the hole. This seemed to be sufficient for making the connection. However, it was insufficient for keeping the connection. As we bounced over giant potholes, the wire would work its way out, and we would lose the CB.

After repeated retwisting and rejamming into the hole, Cale sat down to find a more sturdy solution with the materials at hand (remembering that we are out in the Mara and not allowed out of the car). Luckily, many, many years ago (possibly more than a decade ago), Conor bought Cale a duct tape wallet. This wallet came with a small square of duct tape to be used to repair any damage done to the wallet itself. This wallet has long since disappeared. However, Cale has been carrying around that square of duct tape ever since, knowing that some day it would come in handy. This was that day.

With the square of duct tape, his leatherman, and a rubber band, Cale connected the twist of exposed wires to its jack again, which could then be securely screwed into the hole on the CB. Hooray! For Cale, this MacGyver fix was only temporary. When we got back to our camp, Cale went at the CB again. This time, he had the materials to fix it up right...a piece of tin foil from our lunch leftovers. The tin foil eliminated the need for the rubber band and likely secured the wires to the jack for the near, if not distant, future.

Yay Cale! Thanks for saving the safari.

— Sara

No comments: