On monday the 16th of January the construction of the first SoWaDi device and thus the test of the construction manual we worked on for the last two years started. Our project partner Gasiano Senzighe allocated four students and one teacher to our project, which should now be able to build a SoWaDi device using only the construction manual without direct help from us. Our main task was to watch and document the building process and how the students would deal with the manual.
After a short introduction and a briefing the students read the first chapter of the manual before starting the construction process. The first step was to build the wooden box for the absorber.
Construction on the first day did not go as well as we hoped it would. Neither the students, nor the teacher were used to the concept of a step by step introduction. This got a little better on the following days, when the tools for pipe and metal sheet bending were built. Parallel to that the wooden framework for supporting the absorber and holding the canisters in place was constructed. Thursday and friday all the different parts were assembled and the canisters connected so that the device was finished on friday.
After our arrival at the Malage VTC we directly began with buying the material needed to build two SoWaDi devices. Because Elli was sick and had to stay home, Tim, Ludwig and Gasiano drove to Mwanga which is approximately 20 minutes from the VTC. We first started to get an overview and bought some material like the glass panes, spray paint, wire, containers, tube connections and screws. For buying the timber we turned to a local seller close to the VTC. Because the timber was not of a very good quality and varied a lot in size we only bouhjt the material for one rack.
On the next day we started another attempt at getting better timber. We found another timber place in Kisangara with a better selection of sizes and better quality. In addition to that there was a wood workshop where we could get the timber cut and slimmed down to the right measurements.
For the things we couldn’t get in Kisangara or Mwanga we drove about 1½ hours to Moshi, a city with over 150.000 inhabitants. We got everything there from copper tubr to aluminium sheet. The only thing we didn’t find was isolation material like glass wool. Gasiano’s suggestion for this was to substitute it with locally produced sisal.
On saturday we got the prepared timber from the wood workshop and also finished some paperwork like writing reports.
On January 11th Ludwig arrived at Usa River. On the same day Eliet Senkoro took us to Kisangara and dropped us off at the Malage Vocational Training Centre. We were warmly welcomed by Gasiano Senzighe and his family. Gasiano Senzighe is the principal of the school, for the next weeks we will live with his family.
The Malage VTC is a boarding school, that offers education programs of tree years to become a mechanic, an electrician and more. The site is very big and hosts about 100 students and some lifestock.
Water is supplied by cisterns, some filled with rain water and some filled with spring water from the nearby mountains. The water from the mountains has very good quality, but the pipe with the water supply is only open for one hour during the week. Therefore this source of water with good quality is limited.
The family of Gasiano Senzighe only consumed boiled water, the students mostly drink untreated water. Our devices at the school are meant to ensure the students have access to save and treated water.
During the next few days we will shop for the materials we need to build the two devices. Most materials we except to find in the nearby small city of Mwanga. For the unusual items such as a copper pipe, we will need to da 90 minute drive to Moshi. On Tuesday we are planning to start with the building of the devices and to hold a seminar for the students.
During the last few days we met with different local NGOs to discuss the SoWaDi System.
At Arusha we had a meeting with professor Nuhu Hatibu, who is the leader of a NGO called Kilimo Trust. We gave him a presentation of our device, its functioning system and the procedure of the project phase. As an expert on Tanzania and new technologies he gave us some valuable feedback. He also invited us to visit the building site of a school he is currently building with his family. We were happy to join his son Hatibu Hassan on a guided tour to the building site. Currently the workers drink untreated water and have to cope with waterborne diseases, because of this the family is very interested in our system.
We also met with Siza Tumbo, the leader of the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technologies (CAMARTEC). The organization focuses on agricultural technologies and their distribution. During a discussion we could show the advantages of our system and we decided to stay in contact. After the discourse we were given a tour of the grounds and the workshops.
In Moshi we met with Simon Mwakalinga, who is the leader of the NGO ACRO (Africana Community Rehabilitation Organization. The main focus of this NGO are also agricultural technologies, but when we met they had been planning on starting a water project. Therefore, ACRO is very interested in our technology. Simon will visit us at the Malage Vocational training center, once the devices have been built and are running.
On January 6th at 12:00 pm, after a 14 hour trip, Tim and Elisabeth landed safely at Kilimanjaro International Airport. With a cab, they travelled to a nearby suburb of Arusha called Usa River. There they found their place to stay and visited the neighbor Eliet Senkoro. Eliet Senkoro is coordinator of the Probono Organization, an NGO which connects German and Tanzanian schools. Right now Eliet Senkoro is hosting Kasimir and his wife, Kasimir is a former member of Engineers without Borders Darmstadt. Kasimir is very much used to the Tanzanian country, the people and the culture. He will help us a great deal getting around and communicating with the people on Swahili.
After a great dinner at Eliet Senkoro’s house we went back to our place and went to bed. We are very excited for what we will see during the next days!
Finally, the time has come to start our trip to Tanzania for our next project phase. Everything has been prepared, all materials have been collected and presents for our hosts have been bought. We are ready!
The last few weeks have been exhausting for the team of the SoWaDi project. Some last details of the manual have been fixed, we now have a finished English version of the manual that will be taken to Tanzania with us. Since our team will be leaving in a few days we have prepared and printed all the needed materials. Tim, Ludwig and Elisabeth will be taking them to our project partner near the great mount Kilimanjaro. As a gift they are bringing two footballs, which have been signed by all the team members.
During their first week our sent engineers will meet local NGOs and present our system to find partners for the distribution of the system. The rest of the four week stay will be spent at the Malage Vocational Training Centre near Mwanga. There, the systems building process and function will be tested by the students of the center. The main aspect will be the comprehensibility of the manual and the long term functioning of the device. To assure the quality of the produced water, a variety of water tests regarding microbial contamination will be done with the treated water.
The SoWaDi Team is very excited to see, what the next weeks will bring.