Despite the lockdown: the work continues

Hello everyone!  

Our departing people are back in Germany for a month now. During this time a lot has happened and we would like to give you a small update about our current work as well as the situation in Tanzania and in Darmstadt with this blog entry.  

Our current work:

Recommissioning of our first test unit on the Lichtwiese in Darmstadt.

Immediately after the return of Rebecca, Jonas and Julius from Tanzania, the follow-up of the departure started. This includes not only the viewing of pictures, notes, etc., but also constant communication with our project partner, the Kilimanjaro Childlight Foundation (KCF), and the users of the units. Furthermore, the costs of the individual units are estimated and the interviews with the people on site are evaluated. 

We have established a support group that maintains contact with Tanzania to collect feedback and the recording of the weekly sent measurement data to maintain contact with Tanzania. The measurement data collected in this way includes the daily water output of the 6 plants as well as information on the weather. These weather data can be compared with the data of an online database in the future and allow a more detailed analysis of the output data. 

During the departure, minor design changes were also made to the unit, which are now being discussed in the Performance Issues Theme Group and included in the assembly instructions by the Instruction Group. Our goal is to include major design changes in the planned setup of the second test unit here in Darmstadt. 

A special focus is currently on measurement technology. Within the scope of an Advanced Design Project (ADP), 5 students are working on a robust, inexpensive and easy-to-implement measurement electronics, which will be installed in our second test unit in summer. At the same time, scales for characterizing the performance of the system are to be determined. The ADP tendered for this purpose is supervised by the Institute for Technical Thermodynamics at the TU Darmstadt. 

Effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on our work:

The water is drained off at the covered TZ01 unit at Malage VTC.

Of course, the COVID 19 pandemic has a major impact on our work. In this blog entry we would like to give you a short insight into the situation in Tanzania. For this purpose, we have received insights into the current life in Tanzania from Ichikael, our contact person at KCF, and Gasiano, the headmaster of the Malage Vocational Training Center, where the departure team has put the two units of 2017 back into operation this year, which we would like to present to you here briefly.

Ichikael (Communication on the 1st of april):  

Ichikael has a son and also takes care of her nephew. Both of them have to stay at home right now because the schools in Tanzania are closed. She takes over the work of the teachers – unfortunately, the two little ones want to go back to school despite all her efforts. Currently the question arises whether the exams should also be written at home.  

Other facilities such as markets and churches are still open, but mass events have been cancelled. People who do not take the situation seriously are particularly problematic. Many do not particularly restrict their public life, hygienic protective measures, such as washing their hands, are often not taken. 

Although comparatively few people are in quarantine in Tanzania, the tension is still noticeable. The infection figures from Europe are being followed with great concern. 

Gasiano (Communication on the 25th of march):  

The TZ03 unit at Kidia Primary School is also covered.

Gasiano describes the current situation as difficult. It is a pity that his school is closed to students; neverless he sees the situation positvely because of the still low infection figures. The teachers at his school continue to carry out their duties, such as maintaining the school or cultivating the school gardens. The government’s school closures are expected to continue until 17 April and will be closely monitored. If a school opens despite the governments‘ orders, the headmaster risks a permanent closure of the institution.  

Gasiano has five children. His daughter is studying in Xi’an, China and came back to Tanzania in February because of COVID-19. The family is happy that she is at home and everyone is healthy. Through various news channels they are informed about the situation in other countries. Especially the situation in Italy is followed with great concern.  

We are very happy that all users and contributors in Tanzania are doing well according to the circumstances. Although public life is partly restricted, this is the only way to slow down the spread of the virus. The constant contact with the users on site is especially important in these times!  

As some of our units are located on school grounds, some of them have been put into standby mode. For this purpose, the absorber box is covered with a plastic sheet that is impervious to light so that no components are heated by the sun. At the moment three of the plants are in this state. The remaining systems are still in use and measurement data is sent to the support group on a weekly basis.  

Of course, the way of working within the project group has also changed over the last few weeks. Since everyone works in his home office, alternatives for meetings and project group meetings had to be found. For our meetings every second Tuesday we use a program for voice conferences. There is a lot of communication via social media and lectures can be presented via a special website.  

In spite of all the technical helpers, we are looking forward to hours together again reunited in the university group house!  

Stay healthy and until then:  

Kukaa na afya na mpaka wakati huo!