Many of the guys that I work with jokingly call me “the doctor.” They tell everyone that all I need to do is give a machine a “shot” (or sut in Tok Pisin) and it will be all better. I must say that it is not as easy as they make it sound, but since arriving in Ukarumpa I have been able to breathe life back into many things. The latest project that I saved from the scrap heap was this Caterpillar generator. It had been sitting for ten years in our tractor shed since being replaced with a bigger generator, and we finally decided to sell it. I was told that it had run 10 years ago, but since then no one had tried to start it.
A week ago I put an advertisement in the newspaper classifieds trying to sell it. We needed the space, and were also hoping it would help to pay for another machine we are looking at buying. Some of the people before me had been real packrats, so there is quite a bit of stuff lying around. Anyway I decided I had better get it running first before people came to see it (plus power wash off 10 years worth of dust and dirt build up). We hauled it out of the tractor shed to our work area and then drained the old oil out of it and put in fresh oil. Then we pumped fresh diesel fuel through the injector lines and then finally connected the batteries. It took us a couple hours to get all this accomplished, but after getting all the air bled out and a couple huffs of starting fluid, the engine coughed and sputtered back to life in a large cloud of black smoke. Amos (who is seen in the picture) and I were all grins seeing this old machine that others had deemed as just junk brought back to life. I can now in good conscience sell it to someone who will get many more years of service out of it. And the doctor has saved another patient.