It became very apparent in early 2014 that the Land Rover we had imported into Sierra Leone in 2010 was struggling to provide the support we needed. Regular maintenance and repairs meant that the vehicle was no longer viable. It has since been moved to lighter duties.
We therefore started to look for an appropriate replacement vehicle and for funding. The vehicle we had in mind initially was the Africa spec Toyota land cruiser pickup.
We then had a very lucky break. John Gladwin, who’s son Mikael had previously run the Bristol Half Marathon on our behalf, agreed to make a donation to the vehicle fund through his Oxfordshire-based company, Helpful Hirings.
To say we were grateful is an understatement – this is a very generous donation, and a great boost of confidence for the charity in general.
It became apparent that although the Toyota was a superb vehicle, it in fact offered us no more carrying capacity. And although more capable than the old Land Rover, it would have been operating at the top end of its abilities without additional investment into its specification.
We consider we now have the perfect vehicle – the Iveco-Magirus ex – Municipal Disaster Relief Vehicle. This provides a huge amount and variety of storage possibilities, a 4×4 go anywhere capability and above all is within our budget.
The truck is currently undergoing fit out work to accommodate all the Alive & Well drilling equipment it will need to carry once in Sierra Leone.
We hope to have the work completed within next couple of weeks and the vehicle will be shipped to Sierra Leone at the end of February 2015.
We thought that Municipal Disaster Relief Vehicle was a bit of a mouthful and so we have christened the vehicle “Ma” as a mark of respect to Mariama Fawundu, Senesi’s wife, who was instrumental in initially building relationships between the UK and the Pujehun region of Sierra Leone.
“Ma” will help us continue Alive & Well‘s valuable work in Sierra Leone and we hope will be in service for many years to come.