Master Isaac

(Note 12/24/15: I wrote this back in 2013, but never got around to posting it because I was swamped by the transition to my Peace Corps site. But I’m posting it now because when I returned for the third time back to Liberia in October 2016, Master is who I came to stay and work with!)

When our generator was fixed for the 26th, our DVD player was repaired as well. I didn’t think much of it until I saw the repairman take apart the DVD player and make some comment about having replaced the lens. That perked my interest.

After talking a little bit more to him, I found that he was the go-to guy for all the electronics repair in the area. He was even going to be a Peace Corps parent, but he was placed on hold because we had a trainee decide to opt-out of Peace Corps at the beginning of training.

The next day I visited him in his shop / house. His name is Isaac, but everyone calls him Master. What a pro.

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He was there fixing a cell phone behind the counter while some older kids hung out, apparently trying to learn a thing or two.

While he worked, he told me about how he had built the first radio station in his home county. We were both excited to find a fellow electronics aficionado in Liberia. He told me it was hard to find people in Liberia that shared his interest.

Then, he showed me an amplifier he built for his giant speaker.

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I asked if he designed the schematic himself. He nodded, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a sheet of paper with some hand-drawn circuit diagrams. I was very impressed!

With the combination of a language barrier and loud music, I couldn’t figure out for sure if he really designed it on his own, or modified a circuit he found on something else, but either way I was impressed. He said he had a little bit of theory at KRTTI, the technical institute in Liberia, but he mostly relies on his years of self taught practical work.

A couple of days later, a fellow trainee’s AC adapter on her external hard drive died. I brought it to Master Isaac, and he fixed it right up. It really tickled me how he was missing one of the probes on his multimeter and so he was using a wire wrapped around a screwdriver bit instead. And then when the time came to put in a new part, he used solder salvaged off of an old circuit board he had lying around. Waste not want not!

I’m so excited to have found this guy! I have a feeling we’ll work well together in the future!

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