Tuesday, May 24, 2016

busy times in Arusha...

Hey hey.

It’s been a crazy busy couple of weeks here at Twende. That combined with a plague of computer troubles means I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll give the highlights in a few installments.

First, we’ve approximately doubled the daily number of people in the workshop. We have seven new interns from Arusha Technical College. They’ll be here working on a few different projects for about ten weeks. We’ve got some of them building a website, some working on mechanical projects, and some helping to expand our curriculum for secondary schools.

On top of the new interns, we’ve also got three Arusha Tech folks returning to continue developing an ox-pulled ripper-planter that they started last year. The ripper-planter (pictured below) is a substitute for a plough.  By disturbing the soil only just enough for planting, ripping maintains soil structure and fertility better than ploughing. This particular ripper is designed to plant seeds in the ripped soil as it goes. After building their first prototype here, the ripper-planter team won a grant to continue work on the machine. A lot of farmers I meet at trade fairs are interested in the machine, so I’m glad they found the time to continue—and it’s just nice to have some old friends back in the workshop. On top of that, it also suggests some interesting possibilities for attracting more students to Twende to build things.

Most technical colleges and universities here seem to have practical training programs that place students in various internships. I’m hatching some schemes to use that requirement to get students to Twende to either develop their own ideas or join an existing team here. My goal is that at least some of those students will invest enough care and effort into their projects that they’ll want to continue innovating here, like the ripper-planter team.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll try to post some updates on the different intern projects in a few weeks. Until then, I’m enjoying the flurry of activity and preparing for a few more interns who will be arriving in the next two months.

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