Productive day despite transport trauma

Broken down taxi Broken drive shaft
Today was always going to be a busy day, scheduled to start with a meeting with SABMiller at 10am. In preparation for this I was up early and dived into the car with my flip flops on to drive across to the other side of Lusaka to pick up Rohit before the traffic jams started. Half way across town the car’s engine cut out. Then it did it again and then again, until it ground to a halt about half a mile from the place where Rohit is staying. I had to abandon it. I called Rohit, explained what had happened and asked him to call a taxi.

All was well – we were still going to make our SABMiller meeting and we could sort out the problem of the car later. The taxi arrived and we set off back to our place to collect Jane and enable me to change into more appropriate footwear. We were a mile or so into this return journey when an awful noise came from the front of the taxi. The drive shaft had broken. It wasn’t yet nine o’clock and I had already abandoned a variety of broken-down vehicles in my wake!

The taxi driver called his brother and we were soon on our way again. There was still a fair chance that we’d make our 10am meeting with SABMiller but we thought we’d better call them to let them know that we might be a bit late. “No problems. 11am would suit us better anyway”. The pressure was off.

Simon outside SABMillerThe meeting with SABMiller went well. This was the first in a series of one-to-one meetings with partners to discuss their specific roles and highlight the dependencies that exist within the project. We have a Gantt Chart to rival the Mapa Mundi.

The plan is to follow this series of meetings with a kick-off meeting involving all the implementation partners. We’ve scheduled this for the beginning of December, with a view to getting off to a flying start in January.

After the SABMiller meeting we had a very enjoyable lunch with a long term ColaLife supporter who, after hearing the story of our morning, lent us her car. How many people do you know who would do that?

In this car we proceeded to our second meeting with a representative from the organisation likely to take on the role of accountable body for the ColaLife trial. This meeting went really well and hopefully I’ll be able to reveal their identity soon.

While all of this was going on, friends of our host ,who lent us the first car of the day, rallied to retrieve it. It is now back at base and awaiting new HT leads.

It’s days like today that make me realise just how many people are generously supporting us. A big thank you to all of them. You know who you are. There is no way we could do this without you.


  1. Productive day despite transport trauma:

  2. Two break downs before 9am?