New Hope – The Evil Strikes Back – Return of the HOT

New Hope

Not so long time ago in Bangui, far far away from the comfort of European civilization, a group of volunteers of EUROSHA project was facing serious difficulties. The leader of the EUROSHA galaxy being infected by an insidious disease, mysterious forces blocking the handover of their motorbikes and the Pelican case with their equipment or surprising attacks of the Nairobi flies – all this and much more was threatening the success of their project.

Introducing OSM to local NGOs

Despite all that, the loyal volunteers continued their mission. They managed to map the majority of roads and buildings of the capital, continued to introduce the project to humanitarian actors and found interesting and supportive allies like ECHO (which got to know that it  is financing them) or UNICEF. They also often communicated with their master Séverin who was very helpful even on distance and was the only one with whom they discussed their issues in detail. November 16 was the day when he promised to arrive in Bangui and support them in the field. The volunteers had high expectations about the master’s arrival and were hoping for him to reinforce them and the whole project.

Remote support of master Séverin

Remote support of master Séverin

The Evil Strikes Back

However, Séverin was attacked and robbed in dark Nairobi. After he regained consciousness, he was taken to hospital and after a few days repatriated to France. In the meantime in Bangui, volunteers were struggling with electricity and internet. Morning electricity cuts, normally expected around 9 a.m. were coming more surprisingly and more early every day until they reached the time 7:40 a.m. which made the popular morning imagery downloads quiet a challenge.

A bit of morning mapping...if connection allows

A bit of morning mapping…if connection allows

Also the internet, before normally working in the evenings (when the electricity came back), seemed overwhelmed by dark downloads, ran extremely slowly and made popular evening data uploads quiet a challenge and conflict resolution even impossible.

A square full of buildings ready to be uploaded

Return of the HOT

However, good things started happening. The volunteers received the Pelican case with their printer, projector, cameras and other equipment to promote their mapping and formation activities. Moreover, representatives of the host organization managed to deal with all the paperwork and volunteers received three motorbikes. Now, they will not have to rely on local taxis and buses anymore.

Centralafrican public transport for long distances.

Centralafrican public transport for long distances.

Séverin, strong in spirit, recovered fast from everything and rushed preparations to be able to come to Bangui as soon as possible. December 1 was set to be the day for his arrival. The volunteers, encouraged by good news, made preparations for two weeks of work with their master – stocks of coffee refilled, extra chair delivered and half of a bed cleared. May the mapping party begin!

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