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Surveying and Fitting Together

May 25, 2010

25 May 2010

Today, the three essential design teams continued to work hard on their projects. Kerri, Graham, Jeff, and Min headed to the CYEC early this morning to do some manual labor, while Chris, Liz, and Mike split off to do some more community surveying. Contrary to the past five mornings, the weather early today was overcast and dense with humidity. Fortunately, the sun broke through the clouds around noon,burning off some of the mugginess and making for another heat intensive work day. Despite the long hours and air of exhaustion, everyone made good progress.

Yesterday, the majority of the materials were gathered from Nyeri and Nairobi for each team. The Anaerobic Digester team finally received the 1500 and 2000 liter tanks needed for prototype construction. Due to their size, it was no surprise that they attracted the attention of most of the CYEC kids. The Drip Irrigation and High Tunnel teams laughed when they saw swarms of kids climbing into the tanks and frantically struggling to get back out. Because the tanks were upright, the kids had to make chains and pull each other out of the opening. During surveying, Liz, Chris, and Mike got another opportunity to take some funny pictures with the animals of the families being interviewed; Liz and Chris got one with a woman holding an outstretched baby goat, while Mike got one with a chicken.

At the CYEC, the Drip Irrigation team started out preparations for the day by hiring three local workers using the integrative Wishvast system. They sent messages for laborers, and got good luck with those who responded to the call. Using the Wishvast rating system, Graham rated each of the workers a 9 on a scale of 10. Graham, Kerri, and the workers were able to complete digging for three beds on the drip field. Also, the team used the rest of the waste oil from the first container to coat the wood for protection from termites and the elements. These wooden pieces will be used to guard against soil erosion. Lastly, the team cut the black polyethylene piping from the previous year’s high tunnel into end pieces for the beds. Overall, the team made great progress today.

The High Tunnel team had an equally as fulfuilling day. Although no workers were hired for the physical labor, Jeff and Min had a good handle on things. They started by cutting the thick green PVC they purchased yestereday into 1 foot sections. These were cut to equal heights, and were used as couplers to connect the structural hoops to the bottom frame of the high tunnel. Even though the old hoops were sawed off, the posts of the foundation were left intact; the new hoops were attached to these base posts using the new green PVC couplers. The biggest accomplishment of the day was construction of the hoop supports. Each hoop was 27 feet in length, and bent into shape using three separate 9 foot pieces. The team made a fire in order to use the heat to fit the three 9 foot sections together, melding them together with a smaller piece of PVC pipe. All in all, the team built 8 of the 9 hoops – a pretty successful day.

The Anaerobic Digester team ventured through the town of Nyeri with their three CYEC champions – Paul, Joseph, and Jackson. The village visited was home to Joseph and Jackson, who are cousins. As they told the team, it is nearly impossible to interview community members without some prior knowledge or introduction. As a result, the team was grateful to have the boys on board. Liz and Chris split off with Jackson, while Mike went with with Paul and Joseph. Each group took a different route to survey village members. It was very helpful to have the translational abilities of the CYEC boys when explaining concepts about biogas technology to rural households. Additionally, the boys have an amazing understanding of the science behind biogas, as well as its environmental, financial, ans social implications. This was another great benefit reaped by the Anaerobic Digester team. Liz, Chris, and Jackson went to three households to talk to families about the feasibility of investing in a digester. Also, they encountered a few interested people in the street. The most promising visit involved chatting with a local group focusing on managing the national forests. The group talked to a couple of very influential people, in addition to meeting a bunch of others. One was a school teacher interested in a digester for his school, and the other was a member concerned with the capital cost affordability of digesters. Both contacts were recorded, and the group will, after doing some fianancial analysis and consulting with professors, meet with these folks to discuss things further. Mike’s group got about five interviews, including one really important encounter. The group met with a moderately well off farmer who kept a variety of animals, and even had electricity on his farm. Despite this technological advancement, the farmer still expressed interest in using animal waste to feed a digester. Maybe a subsidy or local sponsorship for biogas systems is a solution to the financial problem?

Overall, a lot was learned and done today by each team; everyone is really looking forward to the safari!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 30, 2010 11:03 pm

    You’ve done it again. Superb writing!

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