This is the second post of a three-part series, check out the first post here.
In this post, we want to talk about the humble plastic container (known in Arabic as a jerricana).
We can source a top quality, mint condition jerricana (with a cap) in Khartoum for the princely sum of 5 SDG (equivalent to about 35p in GBP, and about 50c in USD). We’ve found the ideal size that is commonly available is about 18 litres; slightly smaller would be better, but an 18-litre jerricana is easy to find. 5 litres and 36 litres are the other commonly available sizes, but they’re not quite as good.
That jerricana can then be used as:
- A swim float for teaching people to swim
- A floating rescue aid to throw
- A “rescue can”, with a rope tied to the handle
- An “easy” casualty to tow, when part filled with water
- A “hard” casualty to tow, when completely filled with water
- A sinking casualty to recover from the bottom, when partly filled with sand, and then topped up with water
- An anchor for a marker buoy or teaching area boundary in open water, when completely filled with sand
- A marker buoy or float for marking a teaching area boundary in open water, when empty and tied to an anchor
- A seat for the instructor, as they watch the students train
- A place to rest the feet of the casualty when elevating their legs to treat for shock
- A way to carry 18 litres of juice for thirsty students
What else gives us that flexibility for that price?
If any of the pieces of kit listed above break, everything that we have used to make it is available locally, and easily repaired. That is the key. Sudan is a graveyard for high-tech rescue equipment like jet skis and powerboats, because the parts simply are not easily available for repairing them.
That is what we mean when we talk about sustainability. We don’t want to train our Nile Swimmers students to be reliant upon hand-outs every time we visit. We want them to understand the principles of what an item of equipment is trying to achieve – for example, providing a buoyant support for the casualty, and allowing the lifeguard to keep a safe distance from the casualty.
We would be interested to hear if anybody else uses something in lifesaving that has so many different uses. Please comment below.