Closing Time

Just kidding! It’s not quite closing time yet – we still have 3 days left! We’re in the wrap-up stages of our work here, but exciting things are still happening. In the last 3 days we’ve been able to meet with each of our 4 partners here; that might be unprecedented efficiency. Let me take you through it.

On Monday we made the trek out to Leganga where Lulu Vicoba is. We were joined by two of the leaders from Vision for Youth (both named Violet), as they continue to show their commitment to meeting the other briquetting groups in the area. This was the first time we got to observe Lulu Vicoba actually pressing briquettes, and they proved to be proficient in the process. It was also great to see the Violets from Vision for Youth being active in both learning about Lulu’s process and also sharing the knowledge they have. This information sharing was continued as Violet and Violet helped us share knowledge about how kilns work to carbonize biomass.

The action only picked up on Tuesday. First we had the privilege of meeting with Professor Karoli Njau at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology. We were thrilled to learn he has worked extensively with our friend Dr Rajabu at University of Dar es Salaam. He shared his knowledge about sources and alternative uses of waste in the area. The value of a type of waste in briquetting is determined by its competing uses. For example, vegetation such as banana leaves are valued here as food for livestock, whereas rice/coffee husks don’t have alternative uses so they can be valuable in charcoal briquetting.

We capped off the day by visiting Upendo. Upendo doesn’t usually briquette during the rainy season because of difficulty in collecting materials. This fact, combined with most of the women’s group being sick, resulted in only having one woman available to show us their process. But we overcame this difficulty and she showed us how they make doughnut shaped briquettes.

Finally, today we returned to EMORG with the intention of making some big sales at the market. But before we could do that, they surprised us with a party put on by our friends Didas and Troy. EMORG has been extremely helpful to us during our time here and we can’t thank them enough, from providing our housing to delivering for us when we’re in dire need of transportation. It was a nice chance to reflect on the last month and share some laughs with new friends. The good times continued when afterwards the women’s group sold over 10 kg of briquettes at the market!

Good Times at EMORG

Good Times at EMORG

(more pictures to come when we have better internet!)

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