Sunday, July 3, 2011

Days 3 & 4 at CoET

Friday July 1 -
We have already fallen into a morning routine: wake up, breakfast at 8, then head over to the garage at CoET (the College of Engineering and Technology) to work on stove testing. Kevin M. and I headed into the city to pay for our flights from Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza. We will be leaving midday on Monday the 4th, then taking a bus to Kigoma on the 5th. A special thanks goes to Stan, one of our translators, for making travel arrangements in Mwanza for us! Unfortunately we'll be missing Independence Day festivities at the U.S. Embassy in Dar, but we are eager to set out on the next stage of our journey. The ticket-buying process took several hours which included sight-seeing through the city center, the first rain we've seen so far, and stand-still traffic (you thought NYC was a busy place?!). Our driver and the rest of our van mates were really friendly. My favorite part was learning new Swahili terms and about their cultures, to which Kevin reciprocated by teaching them English idioms, which they loved. After some small ticket mishaps, we settled all of the flight plans. We will probably be off internet access for those two days, but we should be able to post when we reach Kigoma.

Another highlight of the day was getting a phone call from Stephanie Crocker, this past year's Tanzania Project leader and our blog poster (Thanks Steph!). Kevin M., Kevin D. and I updated Steph on our trip and received helpful feedback. It's always nice to have the advice of a past traveler and someone outside our travel group who has been here before. We are hoping to set up conference calls periodically to talk to people on campus. Get on the DHE blitzlist if you are around and want notifications about summer DHE meetings and conference call times! (Email I'll also take this opportunity to mention that our group email address is, so please feel free to email the account if you have questions, since the group account may be checked more often that individual accounts.

Back at the testing garage, things were really heating up. Emil has been working on modifications to the stove built last year by Ryan Birjoo '11 and Kevin M. Though there are still some problems with smoke and fuel usage, Emil has no trouble getting a huge fire going - we often look over to see bright orange flames shooting out the top, boiling a pot of water. Kevin D. and James have gotten creative in coming up with "flow materials" for the stove they are working on (one of Dr. Lautsen's designs). They coined the term "flow material" because it is placed amongst the fuel (coffee husks) and allows air to come through the dense husks. They've used items lying around the garage such as chicken wire, rocks, brick, and bottle caps. The fun thing about these stoves is that we can get really creative, and small changes make a big difference. It just takes some trial and error (and a lot of matches) to figure out the best combinations. This week has been extremely beneficial in giving us the opportunity to perform so many tests and learn about stove design.

The group reunited in the late afternoon, finished up some testing, and cleaned up. Luckily we were told that one of the faculty members here, Steven, would be around on Saturday to open up the garage for us. The extra day of testing would prove to be very beneficial. We said our goodbyes to Dr. Rajabu, because he was leaving at 5 o'clock Saturday morning to travel to Kenya. Nairobi is the first stop on his trip, which is somewhat of a traveling conference to discuss how to standardize transportation regulations between several East African countries. He's modest about it, but this is a big deal and a huge task! After we left we ate dinner on campus, had our nightly recap, and fell asleep quickly.

Saturday July 2 -
Today is our last day working at CoET. The stove guys are getting really creative with each test, and our results are getting better and better. We met with Tsega again today, and she gave us some fantastic documents about her work, briquetting in general, and a 700 page document on combustion. Not exactly what I'd call a relaxing summer read, but they will be very interesting and informative for our projects! We're eating lunch with her (in shifts - some of us have to stay with the burning stoves) and she's been giving us a lot of practical advice about briquette making and cool places to check out in Dar, like a spot called South Beach and her favorite Ethiopian restaurant.

We hope to get home earlier today than the last few days so we can catch up on documenting all of our testing and learning. Tomorrow we are treating ourselves to a real day off. We may try to find a beach, play some Frisbee on the sports fields here at the university, or hang around the research flats and quiz each other on Swahili. Before we sleep we'll pack up and make any last preparations for Monday's flight. Fortunately our flight isn't too early, so we don't have to rush in the morning. We will update again once we get internet in Mwanza or Kigoma.

-Kim Betts

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the updates, just checking to see if we can post a comment. The name of Kyle's translator was Revoccocus or "Revo".