GCI Consultants, LLC (GCI), has done thousands of on-site tests, but December marked our first job in Africa. GCI conducted an ASTM E1105 field water infiltration test at the Hilton Kampala under construction in Uganda, East Africa. Our client was MRA General Trading.

GCI’s Senior Test Technician Tom Armstrong flew with the equipment needed for testing. He traveled from Atlanta to Amsterdam to Istanbul to Entebbe. On arriving in Uganda, he found people to be very welcoming. He noted lots of mom and pop shops and people milling around. There aren’t a lot of roads, so there is a lot of traffic.

Armstrong spent three days at the job site. Although power was a bit unpredictable, the testing was completed on schedule. Armstrong observed that more manual labor is used there than in the U.S. He saw only one crane and no other lifts on the building. Also, there is no equivalent to OSHA, and hard hats are not required. Areas with dark stairwells and no railings required extra caution.

Colleagues on the project suggested that Armstrong see the Uganda Equator, where visitors can stand with one foot on the northern hemisphere and one foot on the southern hemisphere of the world, and took him there. While googling “things to do in Kampala,” Armstrong found that the city is located next to Lake Victoria, which is the source of the Nile. On the last day of his trip, he went white water rafting on the great river.