From Dungannon to Zambia – Phillip Bartley Volunteers Mechanical Expertise

On 17th June 2017 Philip Bartley, Assistant Workshop Supervisor at Dennnison Commercials Dungannon, travelled to Chitokoloki, Zambia. Phillip along with friend, Steven Wallace made the near 8,000 mile journey in order to volunteer their mechanical expertise to Chitokoloki Mission Station.

Chitokoloki Mission Station

Chitokoloki Mission Station

Chitokoloki Mission Station occupies approximately one square kilometer and is situated 43 kilometers from the nearest settlement which is called Zambezi, the district government headquarters. The Mission is surrounded by villages which are mostly very primitive and have seen little change in the past 100 years.

One of the great challenges, is the required planning that must be done well in advance for all medical, maintenance and other supplies needed. As well as the logistics of organising supplies, purchasing and transporting them which is always a major task.

For the logistics and transportation the Mission maintains two large trucks, a 15-ton Volvo and DAF truck that is capable of towing a 28-ton 48 foot long Box trailer that can carry more than the contents of two fully loaded 6 meter containers. The trucks when necessary, go mostly to the Copperbelt for bulk supplies and also to collect the many goods that are received from outside the country.

Time and mechanical expertise as well as the necessary parts and equipment are needed to maintain these trucks for use. A previously visiting mechanic from Ireland had assessed the Volvo lorry and the parts and equipment required for service. The parts were sponsored free of charge by Dennnison Commercials and sent out in a container from Northern Ireland.

The delivery included a turbo, exhaust components, rear axle v-stays, rear spring rubber blocks, cab shocks , cab mounts and brake adjuster kits. The supply of these parts by Dennsions was fundamental in saving the hospital a substantial amount of money. The money saved will instead be used within the hospital to benefit the patients and maintain the necessary standards.

The whole mission station including the hospital, is a nonprofit organisation with all staff members working voluntarily and the hospital funding comes from churches and organisations, mainly in Northern Ireland and Canada. Patients coming for medical care are not charged any fees for any services and those admitted are fed and cared for during their stay at hospital.

Many patients keep coming from even greater distances each year for medical help, especially for surgery as the Hospital has excellent theatre facilities and very qualified staff. One of the important new factors is that Chitokoloki now has a modern ICU (Intensive Care Unit), which has monitoring equipment and oxygen concentrators etc. to meet special situations.

Philip and Steven spent their days fitting the parts supplied to the Volvo lorry and also carrying out general service and repair work. Their work was essential to ensure the trucks are in good working condition, vital for the important work that the trucks will be carrying out. Without this, the hospital would not have the necessary equipment and stock as a lot of the supplies cannot be got locally or else are very expensive.

Philip and Steven went above their call of duty and also worked on the seven diesel generators on the mission sites, as well as carrying out odd jobs within the hospital itself such as fixing theatre beds. Their mechanical knowledge was also invaluable for their help in repairing jeeps, tractors and ox carts; all modes of transports used by those at the mission for travel and transporting supplies.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Philip on such a worthwhile journey. We are proud of everything he accomplished in Zambia and are honored to have Philip as part of the Dennisons team.

For more information, please contact : Amanda Gaston,
Email: amanda [dot] gaston [at] dennisons [dot] co [dot] uk