The next day we checked over all the fuel lines and fuel filter and got the recharged battery hooked up…and Steve fired it up…and it ran! But, it was not running with full power and so we continued to check out every part of the fuel system, including trying a new fuel pump, all to no avail…but then Steve had an idea: he made a cell phone call back to an old friend who worked at Sharber Brothers, one of our sponsors. “Pat” at Sharber Brothers listened to Steve describing the problem and made one suggestion: check out a small valve that is next to the fuel injection pump. That did the trick…a bit of information from Rogers, Minnesota, communicated via a long distance cell phone call solved our problem…and now the engine ran perfectly!
The next morning we fired up the combine and moved it up the main road into Iringa town and to the Cheetah office compound where we could begin our testing, calibration and training. The Cheetah staff had provided about ten bags of unshelled corn for us to run through the combine and Steve checked out all the settings and made some adjustments. By the end of the day, the combine was shelling the corn perfectly. He also trained two of the Cheetah driver/mechanics in how to operate the combine. With the combine now safely located at the Cheetah office compound, the new team of two operators will be able to practice what Steve taught them. Sheri also marked up the operation manuals that we sent with the combine so that they could study the most important parts about operating the combine.
Steve and Sheri’s last morning was spent at the Cheetah office doing some more training…working on that right up to the time they had to leave for the airport to catch the return flight to Dar es Salaam. Their short time in Iringa was packed with activity; fixing the combine and getting it running with full power and running ten bags of corn through the machine, training two local driver/mechanics at the same time to be able to run the machine during the next corn harvest season…July or August next year.
We thank Steve and Sheri…and Brian…for their hard work and willingness to volunteer for this project which we hope will make a big difference in the incomes and lives of many Cheetah partner/farmers next year. There is no way the combine would be where it is now…ready to work in Iringa, Tanzania…without their contributions both here in getting the combine ready to ship and over there, getting it running properly and with local operators trained.