No matter what decade it is, conquering the summit of Mt. Everest is no easy feat and is definitely a cause for celebration. Describing the feeling of what it’s like to look at the world from above is Saray Khumalo, the first black woman from Zambia to summit Everest and reach the South Pole. Joining Dr. Diane Hamilton, she tells her exhilarating experience as she traversed the harsh environment and shares the lessons she’s learned throughout her journey. Know what mindset and determination a person needs when planning to challenge any mountain and understand the reason why it’s important to respect any mountain and not be complacent.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, any solution or innovation to improving the circumstances are a welcome sight. The President of Oaklu, Morgan Reynolds, and his team have come up with the Turnkey Hospital to aid in the Healthcare side of the fight against COVID-19. He explains that it’s constructed in modules to make sure that it’s rapidly available to be deployed anywhere in the world. Morgan also goes into the details and functions of the Turnkey Hospital and how it compares in price as opposed to the construction of a standard Hospital.
I’m glad you joined us because we have Saray Khumalo and Morgan Reynolds. Saray is the first black African woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Morgan is the Creator of the Turnkey Hospital, which has been quite important during COVID time. We’re going to talk about some interesting, unusual stories of what these amazing people do. I’m looking forward to this show.
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The View From Above Mt. Everest With Saray Khumalo
I am here with Saray Khumalo who’s a Zambia-born South African explorer and mountaineer. In 2019, she became the first black African woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Fewer than 5,000, people have managed to reach the summit of Mount Everest. She’s also on track to complete what they call the Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves summiting all seven of the highest peaks on seven continents. This is exciting. It’s nice to have you here, Saray.
It’s nice to be here. Thank you for having me.
I know that you’re from Zambia originally. Where do you live now?
I live in Johannesburg. I’ve been here for many years now, but my mother is still in Lusaka, Zambia. I’ve got family all over the world.
You’ve got an amazing story that you’ve managed to achieve. I do outdoor rock climbing, which to me I’ve done a couple of times and mostly, I do indoor. I remember being at the indoor rock-climbing gym with Erik Weihenmayer. When I first saw him, and he later was on my show, he was the first blind man to do what you’ve done. It was so inspiring to talk to him. I don’t know how hard it must be rock climbing 5 feet and hiking. I get tired. I want to know what made you interested in summiting an incredibly hard climb or hike.
My story is a little different than most climbers that grew up climbing whether indoors or outdoors. Mine started with a bucket list. I went and summited Mount Kilimanjaro and used the climb to raise money for a home that looks after street kids. We built them an outdoor gym and converted the room into a library. When we were handing that over, one of the kids there came to me and said, “Do you come from the township or do you come from the ghetto? Probably for you.” I said, “Yes.” There was almost a sense of disbelief that somebody that looked like her would do something like this. I made a commitment to myself that I would do it, not for her, but for my kids as well to show them that they can be anything that they wanted to, irrespective of what they look like or where they came from.
I started looking into it and that’s where my journey started. I don’t just climb. I use it to raise money for education because I believe it is an equalizer and that’s where it started. I’ve since done Kilimanjaro, I’ve done Elbrus in Russia, Aconcagua in South America and Everest was the fourth one. I did in December the South Pole as part of the grand slam expeditions. It’s been fun. I had to learn a lot on the go because I’ve only been climbing for the past few years.
That’s quite a lot to have done in that short period of time. I’m thinking of what you’ve done. It’s great that you started this for good causes. I saw you had raised that gym for the Kids Haven. I also saw you raised funds for The Lunchbox Fund. All these things that you’re doing, this philanthropy, it’s amazing. A lot of people don’t realize how challenging it is, the amount of energy it takes. My biggest thing is I hiked out of the Grand Canyon, which seemed a lot to me. That’s a lot different when you’re cold and you can’t breathe. You’ve tried to do that a few times with Everest and you weren’t always successful. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your attempts?
The first time I went to Everest was in 2014. I was a very novice climber. When I reflect in and I look back, I wonder if I should have been on the mountain. At the time, all I had done was Kilimanjaro. I went to Chamonix in France to do some training on ice. I’m from Africa, which is all sunny all the way. When it’s cold, it’s not the cold that I would compare to Everest. Unfortunately, three days after we go to Everest Base Camp, there was a sea rock that fell and an avalanche killed about sixteen Sherpas and the mountain was closed. That was a moment of truth.
I saw people that had a lot more experience than I am perish at the moment. I had read about bodies on Everest, but to see what is being picked from the Khumbu Icefall to Everest Base Camp was something that every client that I had to face on their own and decide on their own, whether they belonged there or they needed to leave. People that we experienced running away and I came home. One of the things that I made a decision on was that it was their time to leave and it wasn’t mine. I still had a lot to do. I needed to figure out what I needed to learn from that experience and go back and do it better.
I went back in 2015. In 2015, unfortunately once again, there was an earthquake. I don’t know if you follow climbing. You know that there was an earthquake, the worst in 80 days, which killed almost 9,000 people in Nepal. In Everest Base Camp, we lost about 22 people. At the time, I was between Camp I and Camp II on the Western Cwm. That was crazy. The ground we were standing on, the glaciers started shaking. We didn’t know at the time what was happening. We only learned about it the next day that it was an earthquake.
After it stopped, the mountains around us started avalanching. I remember my Sherpa. He was brave during the earthquake when the ground was shaking. He had a plan. We were going to jump on the same side when a crevasse opens. Whether it’s between us or whatever happened beneath us, we’re going to jump on the same side. That was the plan. It felt like five minutes, but it was less than two minutes. When I look back, it sounds crazy. He had 22 years at the time experience in climbing and guiding.
I trusted him. When it started avalanching, he started praying. I’m like, “Okay.” He is scared. There is no way. His God doesn’t know me. I need to do my own Jesus prayers. The mountain was closed. I came back home. In 2016, I couldn’t afford it. I’ve been saving up to do it. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get to many people believing that I could do it. I went back in 2017. I had a real shot. Unfortunately, I was very close to the summit. We’re on the South Summit, 99 meters from the top. The winds were so bad. If we had to push the summit, I don’t think we would have made it back. It’s so close and yet so far.You need to respect every mountain. Every expedition has its own challenges. Click To Tweet
Coming down to Camp IV with a plan of going back the next day because I had bought additional oxygen, something was wrong with my oxygen supply from the tank to my nose or my face. I lost consciousness in the death zone. My Sherpa wasn’t in good shape. He left me there and went to camp. He got some people that came and picked me up. I was unconscious. We got to camp. Apparently, our tent had been blown off because the winds were quite bad. I lost the sleeping bag and everything. He put me there but because I had bought extra oxygen, he changed my oxygen tank. I stayed and the next day, I felt somebody touching me. I woke up and the guy’s like, “You’re alive.” I’m thinking, “I’m alive.”
He had no food, but he gave me some water. I looked back, I think for the first time in all the three climbs, I felt that maybe the people that said I couldn’t do it were right. In my journey, it was the lowest point. I walked down to Camp II. I was airlifted to Kathmandu. I came home. To a certain degree, I had given up. I stopped writing letters to say, “Are you interested in sponsoring me?” but I continued training. After a while, it becomes a habit. Sometime in 2018, my son was fifteen at the time, came to me. I probably looked bored and said, “Mom, when are you going back?” Not, “Are you going back?” For him, I couldn’t have given up because I always tell him if he loses a soccer match, “What did you learn? Go back and do it better.”
I said, “I’ll go 2020.” I started training again aggressively and continued saving up. In 2019, I lost a friend that I had started climbing with. I decided that maybe that was the year to go. I went back in 2019 and made history with a totally different strategy. I went with a smaller team. I took the time to understand, “Why is this a good weather window? What is our strategy?” Whereas previously, the Sherpa says, “Let’s do this.” “He knows what he’s doing, let’s go.” I was blessed. I got up there, very emotional, for many reasons. One of the most profound things is thinking about my mother telling myself and my sisters that the sky is the limit and realizing that she was wrong because the sky and the clouds, as I knew them, were beneath me and I was above. That was quite a humbling moment.
We’ve talked a lot about Sherpas a little bit, but for those who aren’t familiar, the Sherpas are those trained guides who help get you up there? How do you pick your Sherpa? Do they get assigned to you? I never thought about how that happened.
Before when I didn’t know any better, they were assigned to me. I didn’t ask questions. Sherpa is a surname. Not all Sherpas guide and not all Sherpas are very good guides. Knowing what I know now, I definitely would interview them and find out what they’ve done because it’s a matter of life or death.
Those guys make it up there all the time. They must be in incredible shape. Normally, you would think?
Most of them are born and they grew up in the Khumbu Valley so it’s pretty high altitude. They’ve been doing that for very long. They fit well at high altitude. They are very helpful. At least the few that I had an opportunity to interact with, I related with them quite well. They’re very welcoming. Do they make a lot of money for the work that they do? I don’t know. I don’t think some of them make nearly enough. When you go to Everest, there are permit fees that goes to the government. There’s also the logistics fee that you give to different logistics companies that didn’t pay them a wage. What they end up with sometimes don’t have control over, unless if you engage them directly, which is a different story.
How long does it take you from the bottom to the top of Everest? What is that journey? How long is it?
An Everest expedition is generally about two months. At least in 2019, we did it in about six weeks instead of eight weeks. We did lose one of the climbers in our team. It wasn’t a great thing. We ended up spending an additional week trying to see if we can find him. We were not fortunate. What happens is you fly into Lukla, which is the most dangerous airport in the world. You start trekking from there. All the way up would take you between 6 to 8 days. The day after, you start doing your rotations. You go through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp I and back to Base Camp, and then you go back to Camp II.
What we did this time, which we didn’t do previously is we had one rotation. We went for the first time to Camp I, spent a night and the next day went to Camp II, spent two nights. The first night, we relaxed. The next night, we went to Camp III and came back to Camp II, and then came back to Base Camp. We wait for the right weather window. Even though you plan to spend the 60 days on the expedition, the days that you climb will probably be about 14 of the 60 days.
What’s the sleeping look like? Are there good sleeping arrangements at all?
At Everest Base Camp, it’s pretty good. You have your own tent. You don’t have to share. You have your sleeping bag and you eat well because they have chefs and so forth. They even bake cakes, believe it or not. As you go further up, you don’t carry too much. You start sharing and also, it’s quite cold. The more people in the tent with individual sleeping bags, the better it is because it’s then warmer. If there are winds, the tent is a lot more secure. You get to Camp III. You increase the number of people in the tent generally and Camp IV as well. You carry less to the top, which is much easier. More people share as you go up. When you come back to Base Camp, it’s quite luxurious. You have a tent for yourself.
I’m trying to think of climbing out of the Grand Canyon. I remember we’d left a bunch of stuff at the bottom with our guides. This is more glamping. This was nothing serious. You don’t want to carry all your stuff out with you so you leave stuff behind. Is there stuff left on the mountain as you’re going along?
You leave the heavier stuff. From Lukla to Everest Base Camp, you use no more tracking pants and stuff. You leave all that behind. You also try and leave the heavy cameras behind because when you go further up, you want to be as light as possible, especially when you start carrying the oxygen tank and so forth. When you come back down, ideally you carry everything that you left in lower camps until you bring it all back to Everest Base Camp. That’s the plan. It’s the reason why, for example, three of you, you carry only one tent. Otherwise, you need more Sherpas and carry more, which may not be necessary. Besides, you don’t spend too much time up there. It’s one night.
Maybe on average, four nights at Camp II, one night at Camp IV and two nights at Camp III because when you come back, you probably spend another night if you don’t want to come back to Camp II. You spend very little time up there. There’s no need to carry too much. Apart from that, there’s very little oxygen up there. Breathing becomes difficult. You want to carry as little as possible and give yourself a better chance to summit rather than dragging everything up there.
I was going to ask because you’d been rescued by helicopter. How high up can they rescue you?
In Camp II.
I remember we had one guy who got sick when I was river rafting in the Grand Canyon, within minutes they were there to get you. It’s going to take a while to get somebody to rescue. If you’re up above Camp II, they leave you?
These days, they do rescue people above Camp II, but it’s the Sherpas that will come and put you on a stretcher. That’s exactly what they came to do for me in Camp IV, which you pay quite a bit for insurance for that. Helicopters won’t fly that high. I walked it down because I could still walk and I refuse to be carried. When I got to Camp II, I then had to be flown off. It becomes difficult especially in the death zone to try and go and rescue people because the people trying to rescue you may even put themselves in danger. When you look at the fine print that you signed saying, when it’s in the death zone, it’s in the death zone. It is what it is.
Did you have any frostbite or lose any toes or anything like that happen? Imagine if you passed out, who’s watching that you’re covered.
I did in 2017 when I lost consciousness, I lost my gloves and I had frostbite on my fingers. I lost three tips of my fingers.
That must’ve been very hard to deal with.
I could still climb and I could still jumar myself so why not? It was unfinished business.
That’s one of the reasons you kept going back?
It wouldn’t have been the reason why I kept going back. I kept going back because climbing for me has become bigger than me. If you think about it, we have highways as you do. People die and have accidents there. We don’t stop driving because somebody had an accident or I had an accident. If I can still drive, I’ll drive. I’ll be a little more careful. That’s exactly it with climbing.
We call it climbing, but are you walking? Are you climbing? Are you using your hands? That’s what I’m trying to envision being a rock climber, what is it?Every mountain needs the respect that it deserves; otherwise, complacency may put one in danger. Click To Tweet
On Everest, there’s a mixture of everything. There’s a lot of jumaring yourself. You trek like walking, hiking all the way up to getting to Everest Base Camp. When you go through the Khumbu Icefall, there’s a lot of jumaring yourself with an ascender. If you’ve climbed, you rope yourself up. You drew yourself up. It’s rock up all the way to the top. There are bits where you scramble on rocks, but it’s not as hectic as going solo and rock climbing.
I know Cathy O’Dowd who has been on the show and she was incredible. She introduced us. It’s a very challenging thing to want to do this. I remember when I was talking to her, she said she loved the sense that you’re exhausted at night and the sleep you get from this. Do you get something that you can’t get any other way in terms of that fulfillment, that sleep, that, “Yes, I’m out,” feeling?
I generally don’t have a problem with sleep. If I’m tired, I don’t care where we are, I’m going to sleep. Many people do lose sleep at high altitudes. The sense of achievement that you get from the summit and the feeling that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter how tough it gets. I can do this, at least, that happens for me. You don’t necessarily have to go on Everest to get that. People get it from somewhere else, but it’s beautiful to see how the beauty of untamed nature up there is amazing. Knowing that everyone that you know, everyone important, less important around the world is beneath you. That moment is mind-blowing especially because nobody like me had done it in many years after Hillary had summited the mountain in 1953. That was a humbling moment.
How long did you stay at the top? Once you get to the top, you go, “I did it,” and go back down, or do you stay?
We stayed for about 25 minutes. We took a few pictures. I rested a bit. I had a bit of FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. What did I miss? I may never come here. Check it out. You remember that the summit is halfway. You need to go back down quickly because if you don’t go back to Everest Base Camp, was it a summit?
You’re working on summiting all the seven highest peaks and now how many have you done so far?
I’ve done four peaks and one pole, the South Pole and Everest, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, and Elbrus. I still need to do Denali, Carstensz Pyramid, and Vinson.
The hardest of all those would be, what do you think?
I thought Everest was the hardest. It knocked me off when I went to the South Pole because I got to the South Pole and I thought I’ve done the hardest. What could be harder than pulling a sledge to get to the South Pole? I realized that I need to respect every mountain and every expedition has its own challenges. I believe that Denali could be a challenge because you pull a sledge. You also carry your bags and it can be cold. The weather is unpredictable. Every mountain needs the respect that it deserves. Otherwise, complacency may put one in danger.
You have a regular life. On top of this, you have your two boys. You are an executive at one of the top financial institutions in South Africa. How do you get three months off to go? Is that a problem at work?
I took leave. When I made a decision to do this, I decided that I’ll save all my leave for climbing. I traded in, “I’ll take your logo and take pictures with your logo in exchange. Can I have paid leave?” I’m paying for my own climb. What does it cost you? My leave days. At times, I took unpaid leave. When something is important to you, you make a plan. For the past several years, I haven’t done the traditional holidays because I was saving my leave for climbing. I haven’t looked back.
I’ve had some amazing people on the show. I had Hellicy Ng’ambi, who was also from Zambia. I don’t know what they do in Zambia to create these amazing women. She was unbelievable about her work in higher education and now what you’ve done. It’s inspirational of all the things you’re doing. I was looking forward to having you on the show. I know everybody’s very interested in talking to you. You’re the first ever to do this as I said for a black female from Zambia and to do this is an incredible thing. I admire that you’re an inspiration for young girls everywhere to aspire to do more. I hope to reach your goal. I’m sure this is a tough year to add too many travel arrangements. You probably have to extend your goal date a little bit.
I’ve had to. I was meant to be in the South Pole and it’s been postponed. I’m praying that we find a way to coexist with the virus in order for life to get back to a form of normality. It’s a good time. I don’t believe that the dream has been shuttered. It’s been postponed. It’s given me time to prepare a little bit more and prepare a little bit longer. I’m going to be up and ready for it once the world opens up. I’m looking forward to it.
I imagine you’re in amazing shape. How do you have such great skin when you’re out in this whipping wind and things. She doesn’t look like she’s been outdoors. You look amazing. I would look at some of these climbers and the amount of exercise you guys get has got to be hard to keep that level of fitness up. I imagine you have a lot of calories you’ve got to consume. I’m sure it’s a fascinating thing. I look forward to reading more about what you have to do to make these climbs. I loved hearing your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Is there a way to follow that you’d like to share with anybody?
I have a website. It’s www.SarayKhumalo.com. You can follow me on Facebook at Saray Khumalo or you can also follow me on Instagram, which I’m not very active on, but I’m there. It’s also @SarayKhumalo.
There’s a lot of information when I was reading your bio and some of the stuff that you’re doing. I’m impressed by all your philanthropy and everything else. I hope people take some time to look at your site. Thank you so much for being on the show, Saray. I enjoyed talking to you.
Thank you for having me. I hope you keep well and maybe we’ll meet on the trails one day.
You never know. You’ve got to do Grand Canyon because that’s about as hard as I can get right now. I would love to meet you someday.
The Evolution Of Healthcare In Turnkey Hospital With Morgan Reynolds
I am here with Morgan Reynolds who created Turnkey Hospital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Turnkey Hospital is a fully equipped, ready to move-in hospital that can be deployed almost anywhere in about 90 days. Setting new standards in providing excellent and accessible healthcare is what he does. Welcome, Morgan. I appreciate having you on the show.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
I was looking forward to this. This is a horrible thing to have to do to come up with an idea, but a wonderful thing at the same time that you’re able to do this. This is such a challenging time. I’m curious about what you were doing before the pandemic and what got you into this.
It’s interesting that you ask that. Prior to this, what we were mainly focusing on was residential and commercial projects, high-rise developments, low-rise developments, multifamily subdivisions, entire subdivisions. Things started to change the beginning of 2020 with the pandemic approaching. The thought was like, “We see this urgent need starting to happen all over the world. How can we fill that need? How can we help? What can we do?” We’re a construction firm. We have a lot of different connections and abilities to make things happen. The urgent need for hospital beds was one of the key factors.
How can we rapidly deploy hospital beds anywhere in the world quickly? We’re not talking tent structures or facilities like that, which are temporary and don’t have any longevity. The thought process was, “If this is a short-term urgent need for hospital beds, what you do with the facility afterward?” If it’s convertible, if it’s adaptable and it can be converted into affordable housing, social housing afterward, it has a light beyond the urgent need for hospital beds. That’s what started to bring this all together.
I’m in Arizona and they were worried about what to do here. They took a former hospital, St. Luke’s, and looked at that to make it usable for extra beds. Some places they don’t have that empty hospital sitting there waiting for all of this. You say it’s not a tent structure so it’s built as a regular, like forever building. Is that what you’re saying? If it is and it becomes social housing, who owns it? How does that work?
They are a permanent structure. They’re stainless steel modules that deploy quickly. We put them on a permanent foundation so these are good forever. It’s not going to degrade. What we’ve seen is governments and various countries around the world are the ones who are mostly interested in these facilities. We’ve also seen private companies approach us for rehab centers and things along those lines. For the most part, governments are the ones who are purchasing these. Many of them need hospital beds right now. They like the fact that it’s convertible. They like the fact that it is adaptable. Afterwards, it can create an income.
I’m trying to envision this. Is there air conditioning, heat, electric insulation? What about all that stuff?Many of the governments from around the world have had an underserved need for hospitals prior to the pandemic. Click To Tweet
It’s got everything in it. It comes complete. The modules themselves arrive on site. They’ve already got everything in them, the electrical, the HVAC system for air conditioning and negative air pressure, you name it. They’re like Lego.
That’s what I’m picturing. Did you put them together?
You crane them in. They come in on the truck. They shipped like normal shipping methods. You crane them into place and line them up. You connect those units, which are already finished inside. You’re doing the connection between the modules themselves and putting them on a permanent foundation. For the most part, they are ready to roll once they hit the site. They can be connected within a few days. That makes it a very rapidly deployable system.
As I’m trying to picture this at first, I was thinking of the containers that you’d see on a flatbed ship in the ocean. It’s not that simplistic. That’s my first thought. It’s a little more sophisticated than that?
A little more sophisticated than that. A lot more refined than a shipping container. If you can imagine, a module would be the size of a shipping container, not a shipping container though. It would have hinge walls that could fold down. It extends the size of that module. You can connect these modules together.
Can you pull a whole wall down and connect it to the next side?
That’s right, in essence.
Inside it’s got insulation, regular walls, air conditioning, and different things that connect to the next unit.
The walls and the floors and the ceilings are all insulated.
What about hallways to connect everything?
That’s built into part of the module itself. When a module is constructed, part of that module has a hallway in it, and then you connect it to the next module. By connecting them all, you create a hallway. It’s a dividing wall in the module itself. It’s truly self-contained and it all shows up together.
Where do you keep these Lego hospital pieces? Do you build them on demand or do you have a storage of them? I’m trying to visualize how you do this.
They’re manufactured as we need them. We have proprietary suppliers. They are manufactured as required. We can manufacture up to 100 beds per day. Regardless of what the demand is, we have that set up and in place so that we can produce as many as may be needed. We have seen an absolute, unbelievable need for these hospitals and interest in our hospitals. Even these past 30 days, we’ve been approached with four RFPs in excess of fifteen billion for our Turnkey Hospital in the last 30 days. It’s remarkable to see what the need is on a global scale.
For people who aren’t familiar, you’re talking about bids requests for proposals, for people who would like to purchase it. Most people might be familiar, but I’d like to, in the case of people who aren’t. Now, it takes some time to hook these things up. You can make 100 a day, but then you have to transport them and hook them up. What’s that timeframe like?
Shipping is probably the greatest part of our 90-day timeframe for deploying these hospitals. It depends on your location. Shipping and transport tend to be the biggest factor. Depending on where you go, anywhere from 30 to 45 days in shipping and then the manufacturing component is usually fairly short. That’s what gives us our 90-day timeframe for putting these together safely anywhere in the world.
That’s quite a long time to know. It’s hard to be proactive and at foresight for what the need is. How do you even forecast that in this pandemic these beds they even need in 90 days?
What we found is that many of the governments that have approached us from around the world, whether it be Latin America, Africa, wherever it may be, many of them have had an underserved need for hospitals prior to the pandemic. They needed hospitals regardless. Now, that COVID is a thing, there’s more action being taken. They have the more urgent need for hospitals than they did before and they’re acting on it. When they come to us and they say, we need a 100-bed or 130-bed hospital, which tends to be the usual figure is around that 100-bed hospital, they needed it long before. Regardless of COVID-19, many of them are going to find that this hospital is fully used from the point of being deployed forever.
Where’s your manufacturing site? Is it in the United States?
It’s located internationally. We have proprietary suppliers.
I want to know if it’s easier to get something to the United States or is it easier to get somewhere else. In the United States, there are zoning laws for certain things. Do you have to deal with that? You can’t take a commercial location and put housing on it, for example.
There are building codes that come into play no matter where this is deployed. We have to take those into account, fire codes, national building codes. In Canada, whether it be provincial or US state building codes, whatever that might be. We have to take that into account when the structure is filled. Depending on where it’s being deployed at this time, many countries, state provinces, or whatever might have different requirements at this time than they normally do. Because of an urgent need for hospital beds, they’ll have an architect or engineer sign off on it.
It won’t have to go through your normal process. That’s not to say that’s not a given for everywhere, but we have seen that too. They’re looking for fast deployment. They’re looking for hospital beds and so many governments are streamlining the process of getting them deployed. Whereas normally you might go through a development process and permitting process, that could take months or even years. At this moment, in many places, we can have them deployed very fast.
Do you have any issues with this seal being closed when you connect things together in terms of pathogens and that type of thing in the hospital?
There are no issues with that. There are bolted connections between the units. They do have negative air pressure isolation units. It draws in the fresh air and draws out any of the dirty air. That’s a big factor. Your typical HVAC system in North America, some dispute the exact figure, but it recycles about 70% of the air inside and draws in 30% fresh air. That’s your typical restaurant and things. That’s why you’re seeing these resurgences in infections. As they open everything up and everybody goes to the restaurant and goes to these public places, while your recirculating 70% of the air. With our Turnkey Hospitals, it’s negative air pressure, 100% fresh air. If someone coughs on one side of the hospital and everybody on the other side of the hospital gets COVID. It’s not like that. It immediately draws it out.
How does the cost per unit vary from doing something else as a regular hospital would cost them? Is that different?
Because they’re modular units, they are prefabricated in a factory. We’re probably about a third of the cost of a regular hospital for the actual structure itself. There are some things that you need to provide such as equipment, FF&E: Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment, those things are the same, whether it’s a Turnkey Hospital or whether it’s a regular hospital. We all use the same furniture and equipment in those hospitals. The structure itself is roughly a third of the cost of a typical hospital construction project.
Are they adding these to any existing hospitals, in their parking lots? If so, when they’re don’t want them anymore, what happens? How do they get rid of them?
That’s part of the consideration too. They can be added as an addition to an existing hospital. It’s less expensive for them to do that because then they have all of the services there for things like laundry or pharmacy or kitchens, you name it, those additional services. They can add modules, which are truly patient wards and they don’t need to take into account additional waiting rooms and all of that. That’s a cost-effective way to make good use of the Turnkey Hospital. When they’re done, if they wanted to erect it in say a parking lot, they can be disassembled. As I said, they’re bolted connections between the units. They can be pulled apart and moved to another site, repurposed as affordable housing or recycled. If that’s what they wanted to do, but the most logical thing would be to disconnect that. Disassemble it and reassemble it somewhere else and convert it into social housing, that would make the most sense and utilize this structure for a number of years afterward.
It reminded me of mobile homes, double-wide, triple-wide and if you wanted to add, make it a bigger or different way. If you take this to Africa or someplace like you were mentioning, how do you get water to it?
That’s another component. In rural areas, we were looking at different ways, especially like rural areas in Africa, where water and power are less reliable. It’s not like your major city where you turn the tap and you’re good to go. Infrastructure may be lacking for those things. We brought in the zero-mass water source hydropanels. They are infrastructure-free drinking water solutions. They can produce anywhere from 2 to 6 liters of water per day per panel. It looked like almost a solar field except they produce water. That is how we can create infrastructure-free drinking water for these facilities. That’s another option that’s available if it’s required.
Are there any other factors that I haven’t thought about that make it unique compared to regular hospitals? Did we touch on all the differences or is there something else?
One thing that sets us apart is the fact that we’ve created this Turnkey Hospital, which can be self-contained off-grid by bringing in all these components. That includes infrastructure-free drinking water. We can bring in the solar field for power, medical gas production facilities so that they can create their own medical gases on site. Even the sewage treatment plant, you name it. We’ll put a helipad in there and we’ll provide you with the helicopter for the helipad. Ambulance for the Turnkey Hospital, official vehicles, staff housing. It’s truly self-contained. We don’t know of anybody else that’s providing this exact same service anywhere in the world.
You’re one step ahead of me because I’m wondering who your competition was. You have no one.
We keep an eye on what’s going on. We haven’t seen anybody who’s offering exactly what we’re offering. That rings true with the fact that we’ve been approached by governments all over the world for hundreds of hospitals. I would say that we have something that is unique. We have greater offerings than others. Who’s our competition? I would say that it is limited on the same scale.
When this COVID situation is over and we’re done needing all these extra hospital beds and all that, your company’s called Oaklu, Oaklu.com is the website. Where do you see that going? Is it back to construction for housing? What’s the future of this?
It’s amazing the response that we’ve received overall. Requests for proposals, we’ve received over $100 billion for various projects, which is outstanding. This includes our Turnkey Hospital facilities, as I mentioned, affordable housing all over the world, anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000-unit projects. You name it, oil and gas project, energy projects. We’re being approached by anybody and everybody, all over the world who sees what we can bring to the table here. I see a very bright future for Oaklu ahead. This doesn’t end after the Turnkey Hospital. We’ve quite a lot of different types of projects that we can pursue.
I’m seeing a little bit of Brazil in my mind, how they have the close house together in some of those areas. Is Brazil one of your clients? Is that a country that comes to mind that wants this thing and does it look like that on the outside?
We’ve had interest from many places around the world. With Brazil, we have had some chats with different people connected to that area. They haven’t committed to anything with us yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future that they gave us a call and said they were interested. The door is open.
Does it look like a tin can on the outside or does it look like a house? What does it look on the outside?
On the outside, we can finish these units in any manner. They can come fairly basic, but we can also do any exterior finish that might be desired. Depending on what your purpose is for the overall facility and if it stays there for a while. You can finish it in a very nice manner. If you intend to pull it apart and move it in six months, then the exterior finishing will probably be different in that case.
You’re not going to do stucco for something that they’re going to move, but you could do something like that in Arizona where everything’s stucco or I’m curious?
In terms of finishing the exterior, you can finish it any way you wish with the appropriate substrate. These are stainless steel units, but we can attach anything to that unit. If you wanted stucco, we could definitely do stucco.
That’s where I live. Just thinking out of what people might be asking for and seeing how flexible these are. It sounds like as they’re extremely flexible. It’s a very unique idea. I haven’t had anybody on the show talk about anything even remotely close to this. I was looking forward to having you on. Is your main website Oaklu.com?
Is there any other site or anything you’d like to share if anybody wants to find out more?
We do have our website, Oaklu.com. We have a LinkedIn page as well where we post updates, press releases, but you can also find those on our website too. Those are probably the best places to keep up to date on what we’re up to.
Morgan, this is fascinating. I’m sure everybody’s going to check out your site. It’s nice to see everybody stepping up and trying to find ways to solve this crisis. It’s a very impressive work that you’re doing. Thank you so much for sharing it on the show. I enjoyed chatting with you.
Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
I’d like to thank both Saray and Morgan for being my guests. We get so many great guests on the show. I hope you enjoyed this show. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Saray Khumalo
- Turnkey Hospital
- Erik Weihenmayer – previous episode
- Kids Haven
- The Lunchbox Fund
- Cathy O’Dowd – previous episode
- Hellicy Ng’ambi – previous episode
- Saray Khumalo – Facebook
- @SarayKhumalo – Instagram
About Saray Khumalo
Saray Khumalo is a Zambia-born South African explorer and mountaineer. In May 2019, she became the first black African woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Fewer than 5,000 people have managed to summit Mount Everest. Saray is currently on track to complete the explorers grand slam by December, 2020, which involves summiting all seven of the highest peaks on seven continents.
About Morgan Reynolds
Morgan Reynolds created Turnkey Hospital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Turnkey Hospital is a fully equipped ready-to-move-in hospital that can be deployed almost anywhere in about 90 days. Setting new standards in providing excellent, accessible healthcare.
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