It’s hard to believe it has been about two weeks since we packed up and rushed to catch our respective planes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nairobi, Auckland and Mumbai. We had a whirlwind last few weeks switching our focus from making visits to groups, villages and communities associated with the Jane Goodall Institute to a more centered approach heavy on the resource development and final testing of briquettes before we headed home. Resource development consisted of our hours on hours of office work dedicated to creating a full-length documentary film on DHE and bioenergy in Tanzania (thank you, Olivia!), a mini-series of videos on different technical aspects of briquetting (Dvij and Jun will be finishing these up back at Dartmouth), a full length report on our work over the past few months (my own project), and finishing up tons of translations, photo selections, report edits, impact and economic analysis additions and more (Steffi is a goddess). We also made the obligatory visit to Gombe National Park, where Jane Goodall did much of her landmark research on chimpanzees.
For final testing, we did a lot of number crunching to see what the profit margin would be for our partners’ briquetting operations – each of a different group size, with feedstocks and biomass of different costs and with kilns of different sizes. Each organization can, in fact, make a profit from briquetting! We also collected information on the quality of the briquettes – they effectively cook water, porridge, beans and more! This info was invaluable, in our opinion, because we got so many questions on exactly these points of concern and because we could send the info to our partners and give them more data on the financial and technical viability. Others interested in briquetting might reference this information and use our tested ratios of binder (the sticky porridge) to filler (the char) along with our manuals and more to make their own briquettes.
It has been incredible to experience the applied value of briquetting, engage with communities and groups interested in learning more about bioenergy and see what might come next. While DHE does not currently have any plans to send more students to Tanzania, the project is ongoing. Last week I was so excited to present to a local Rotary club in Los Angeles about the experience and what bioenergy in Tanzania was succeeding in and what still needs work. We will continue to stay in touch with partners and continue to adapt and take bioenergy in the direction of the needs of different partner groups, communities and organizations at Dartmouth and beyond. Thank you to everyone who supported our team for what I will always remember as a remarkably special experience. A few thing’s are certain – my Swahili book is still getting a good amount of use and my Facebook is active with communication with those with whom I spent so much time. Asante tena kwa kila kitu! Until next time…