MacGyvering in Haiti
Sounded simple enough. Just ship down a high quality dental compressor and we'll have a dental clinic running in no time. And sure enough, it worked great last year. But, just let a few months go by and it's a different story. Now the compressor doesn't cut off and the pressure keeps building until there's this busted hose flailing around the clinic and hissing like a viper.
What to do? There's probably a manual on it somewhere, but who knows where that got off to. A search of the compressor leads to a cut-off switch that appears to be pressure activated. Remove the cover and what you see is shown in the photo. Everything looks fine, except what is that dirt in the bottom of the switch? A closer look and, what do you know? - some insect has built a mud nest right in the switch. Now what? We certainly don't have a spare switch or a spare compressor. Well, for occasions like this, you call for the trip's MacGyver. Every team needs one. This is the guy who grew on a farm, or runs an excavating company, or who has owned six motorcycles, or was driving a real fire-truck when he was 15. Where do find these four people? Well in our case, it's just one guy who is also an EMT and is doubling as a dental assistant. Sure enough, our MarkGyver takes one look at it, says we've got to take the whole thing apart, does so, cleans out the pressure gasket, fixes the blown hose and in twenty minutes we're good to go.
It reminds me of a conversation I had once with a hospital administrator in Haiti. He said, "You know, I can get all the volunteer doctors, nurses, and medical people I want. They're all such good people and think nothing of volunteering in Haiti. But, do you know who I have the hardest time getting and is worth his weight in Prestige beer? - a good diesel mechanic." Or, in our case, a good MacGyver.