Grid extension in Tanzania

On our most recent trip to Tanzania, the number of half-fallen trees was quite noticeable. I thought nothing of it at first, even though several of them were lying across the roads. They could have been damaged in storms? That was until we realised that they were all under newly erected grid electricity lines. The contractors had literally just chopped them where they stood, to avoid them interfering with the lines above, but hadn’t then cleared the fallen trees, or cut them fully for others to remove them. An interesting cost-effective technique, we guess, that leaves potentially valuable firewood for others to gather.

The placement of poles under the main high-voltage lines was also unwaveringly straight though, with massive, ancient baobab trees felled like sad dead whales, lying beneath the cables. It seemed counterintuitive that cutting down such a massive tree would be faster or cheaper than moving two adjacent pylons sideways by 5m, especially when the trees are endangered. But perhaps the straight lines were intended to show efficiency and accuracy, or no-one had warned the contractors about trying to distinguish huge and old trees from smaller ones.

In any case, the plus side is that we are all happy to see such fast progress in grid extension to more remote villages in Tanzania!

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