So now we are both back in the UK, and have entrusted our creation to Josie at Butterfly. The final couple of weeks consisted of showing the pump off to some farmers. We successfully watered some tomatoes at a riverside garden. Flow rate seemed improved by using a smaller diameter hose, and we got the whole plot done in nearly no time. The farmers seemed interested in the design, so we will have to keep in touch as the project develops.
Looking back over the few weeks we spent, it definitely feels like we learnt many more things than we passed on. Some of the technical skills and know how we saw are just amazing, so to be going over as a engineer for appropriate technology seems a bit odd really. EWB Sheffield has a nice range of home made gadgets which members have made over the years, but these are put to shame by some of the ingenious and simple inventions which we saw over there. Some of this cool stuff included –
-Heavy duty luggage rack/passenger seats for bikes. Turns a bicycle into a van with a van. Fuel was about $2 a litre at the time we were there so bike vans were very popular.
-Similarly, home made wheelbarrows. The welder we worked with did a good trade in these and did on the spot repairs for wheelbarrow users.
-Handcycles for people with mobility problems. Can be powered one-handed, and you can coast downhill!
-A phone repair shop, seemingly using a candle as a soldering iron. Although this seems mental so maybe I misunderstood.
-Many enterprising shops offering solar powered phone charging and haircuts where the is no mains electricity.
-Home made step down transformers for welding. Actually these were a bit terrifying, we were told to wear good shoes when visiting the welder shop in case a loose cable made contact with stuff on the ground! Still kind of cool though, it would be good to track down the person who makes these.
All in all it was a very enriching experience as someone starting out in engineering. The amount of stuff you see getting made almost in the street, rather than in a far away factory, is just awesome. Also seeing people interested in what we would consider ‘alternative’ or ‘green’ technology was really cool, as there is a real need to save fuel, and often no ready access to electricity.
Apologies for the lack of photos this time, I need to get my SD card de-virused before I can use it 😦