Fiasco Engineering

Fiasco engineering is a “technical” term our technical service people have used in Congo for years. They say their motto is “we don’t ask you how you broke it and you don’t ask us how we fixed it.”

So what is it? It is trying to figure out how repair whatever technical problem you have to solve with the available parts when the nearest parts store is hundreds of thousands of miles away and it would take months to get parts from there. To fiasco has even become a verb in Lingala. Yes, sometimes the fiasco repair, or new construction, will not last, but overall we find it quite effective.

Here’s how it was applied installing the drain to our bathroom sink:
We did not have all the correct fittings to get the drain to the correct location. So the plumber slowly heats the pipe over a charcoal fire until it becomes pliable. Then he starts to enlarge the pipe to make the joint he needs. The two photos below show him heating the pipe, fitting the joint and the finished product. Works great and doesn’t leak. Yes, he did glue the joint.

Heating the straight pipe

New joint fitted on black pipe

Another example of fiasco engineering. Notice how the 220v extension cord is wired so that it can be plugged into the 110v plug on the transformer:

Fiasco electrical connection

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