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DRC Trip Diary – Will the electrical equipment get past the Congo authorities?

Ron Bourgault, PE, LEED AP BD+C

Principal, Electrical Engineer
4/23/15

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Catch previous post from Day 1 here.

Day 2 & 3: Sunday – Monday (April 19-20)

The past two days seemed to blend together. Last you heard, the equipment was on its way from Uganda, well not so fast. Not minutes after I posted “Day 1”, we received word the Congo authorities were asking for an excess of $7,000 in duty, about equal to the cost of the equipment. This was devastating news.

We reached out to very dear friend who already provided a lot of support for the project. He helped us, once again. Other than my endless thanks, all I have to say, I get to pay for lunch next time! More on the equipment later.

Our flights were mostly uneventful, just a bit long and tiring. The flight on the 10-seater plane to Bunia on MAF airlines was beautiful. Note to self, don’t take pictures of the planes in the Bunia airport. The officials get cranky and pull you into their office and attempt to teach you French with a series of hand gestures. Oops! Well worth it, I got a great picture of Kyle with the plane.

Now, back to the equipment, it still sites at the Congo/Uganda border waiting for a final signature, boy this is frustrating. Hopefully it will make its way to us tomorrow.

Day 4: Tuesday (April 21)

GOOD NEWS: The final signature was obtained from the authorities at the border, less good news; the truck broke down 2 hours outside of Bunia.

We were able to accomplish a lot today with the material we have, but tomorrow will be a rest day waiting for the truck to arrive. We are both pretty tired from the heat and humidity, so a few hours of rest might not be a bad idea.

We continue to meet wonderful people around the campus; it appears our equipment dilemma has been shared with many.

We attended a mission’s bible study last night with people from AIM, African International Missions. There were a couple of young ladies, straight out of high school teaching English in a local school. They had just received a care package from home, Edinburgh, Scotland. We were treated with homemade white fudge with cranberries, it was wonderful.

Check out more photos here. 


Aaron Schiess, PE

Associate, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Allan Hendrikse, PE, LEED AP BD+C

Senior Associate, Electrical Engineer

Anareli Catalan

Technology BIM Specialist

Andy Neathery

Technology BIM Specialist

Angelica Chow

Electrical Designer

Arturo S Salud

Associate, Senior Electrical Designer

Austin Barolin, PE, CEM, LEED AP O&M

Associate, Senior Energy Analyst

Bethany Beers, CCP, LEED AP BD+C

Energy & Commissioning Consultant

Bill Caron, PE, DBIA

Associate Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Bill Hinton, CNMT

Associate Principal, Senior Project Manager

Brennan Schumacher, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Lighting Design Lead

Brian Hageman, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Plumbing Discipline Lead

Brian Hans, PE, LEED AP

Associate Principal, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Brian J. Lottis, LEED AP BD+C

Associate, Senior Mechanical Designer

Brianne Copes, PE, LEED AP

Senior Associate, Mechanical Engineer

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