Makin’ (Village Community) Bank

With only a week and a half left here in Arusha, we are moving into the final stretch of the trip. We’re working hard, trying to accomplish everything we want to in the limited time that we have left! The rainy season has abated, and we’ve been enjoying five days of dry roads and sunshine.

Sunset over our house
Sunset over our house

On Saturday we visited EMORG to do a session on briquette pressing. We were very impressed by the efficiency of their operation—they speedily pressed out over 200 briquettes! We are helping them to look for a permanent scale that they can use to sell them, and will be returning with them to the market today. Good weather allowing, we should be able to observe the market for longer than we have previously.

Sammie helps to mix charcoal and cassava
Sammie helps to mix charcoal and cassava

Sammie, Frank and I headed out to visit our partner Lulu Vicoba on Monday. It was exciting to be able to see all of the briquettes that they’re making! They showed us the presses and molds that they are using, and demonstrated the traditional three-stone stove for us. They also showed us models of traditional Meru housing, noting that it is difficult for smoke to escape from them because they do not have windows or chimneys. This makes it really important for there to be access to smokeless cook-fuels.

Frank was able to gather many important values on Lulu Vicoba’s briquetting process, and is using them to conduct an economic analysis on their operation. Sammie collected some briquetting anecdotes, overcoming the language barrier with the help of a translator. We also gave three posters on briquetting to Lulu Vicoba. They seemed very excited about them, and eagerly promised to hang them on the walls of their office.
We’d like to thank Didas of EMORG for helping us to find a driver to get us to Lulu Vicoba’s meeting space, and Naomi of EARD-CI for finding our translator.

Yesterday Frank and I trekked out to Njiro to go to Bernard’s workshop. There are still some relics from past DHE trips here, including some rocket stove prototypes! We modified one of the old rocket stoves into a small top lit updraft kiln. It is the largest TLUD that we have made. Initial test burns have been promising, but we are planning to return to the work shop tomorrow to make some additional modifications.

Frank contemplates the new TLUD
Frank contemplates the new TLUD

Kwaheri!

Hujambo from Arusha!

It’s hard to believe that we have only been here in Arusha for three days! The travel team has been keeping very busy. We are picking up some Swahili, and enjoying the heat after Hanover winter. Everyone here is incredibly welcoming and friendly, and we hear “Karibu!” (welcome) everywhere that we go. And the food! I could rant about how amazing the food is for several days. We have a wonderful cook, Nema, who is teaching us about Tanzanian cuisine and Swahili.

Peter and Frank left for Dar es Salaam on Monday. They met with Dr. Rajabu today, and will return on Friday.  Before they left, we had the pleasure of meeting with Miss Ayoub, Violet, and Veda from Vision for Youth. It was wonderful to finally meet everyone after hearing so much about them from the summer team!

Vision for Youth Meeting

Sammie and I were able to meet with Vision for Youth again on Tuesday to observe a burn in their brick kiln. The travel team is using initial meetings with our partners to see what progress they have made since the summer team visited, and we were very impressed with the operation that Vision for Youth has set up. Their knowledge, skill, and ideas for the future were tremendous, and we greatly look forward to working with them further. We plan to meet with them again on Friday, to review posters that the travel team brought with us and meet the rest of their briquetting team.

DSCF0858

We are excited to meet with the women’s group at EMORG tomorrow! Didas and Troy at EMORG have been extremely kind to us, and we are delighted to be able to finally see EMORG and meet the briquetters. We also look forward to meeting with Upendo on Saturday.

I think that’s all for now, and we will update again soon! Kwaheri!