Monday, June 23, 2008

Hello Musoma! Tanzania

I traveled to Musoma, Tanzania to pursue collaborations between SCI and TanzSolar ~ a newly established nonprofit that will provide affordable solar panels to local internet organizations, health clinics, schools, small businesses and individuals throughout Tanzania. While TanzSolar specializes in photovoltaic (PV) systems, they are interested in expanding their solar reach and open to working with SCI to bring simple solar cooking and water pasteurization techniques to the area as well.

Marianne and her sons showed me great hospitality while I was in Musoma, treating me like family and taking time from their busy schedules to help with a solar demo and introduce me to some active and influential business people in the community; like Sergio Velasquez, an independent development manager, and Robi Machaba of JuaSun, a local internet company that works closely with Marianne and TanzSolar. With their help we rounded up a good group of locally active individuals interested in improving their environment by providing alternative methods of cooking, treating water and generating income in their community. Together we organized a very successful day of informational presentations on solar cooking and water pasteurization ideologies, processes and techniques, generating a great deal of participation and interest. With the help of those listed above and SCI's East Africa Office, SCI and TanzSolar will plan to host a 5-day integrated solar workshop on the TanzSolar grounds later in the year.



Mt Kiliminjaro in the distance, from the window of the tiny plane we took from Dar es Salaam to the small town of Musoma on Lake Victoria.




Marianne and me.



The TanzSolar grounds ~ a good sized compound with three buildings and a massive yard.




These are two different clay stoves found in the market in Musoma, both burn charcoal 'conservatively', but charcoal requires a great deal of wood to produce and seems to be the leading method of cooking in Musoma.




We bought pots at the market and painted them black for the demo the next day. If we had had a bit more time we would have let them 'bake' in the sun for a few days ~ as it was they were a bit 'tacky' but served their purpose. Black chalkboard paint works very well for painting pots since it is a matte substance which eliminates shine and does not chip easily, and is also available in practically any village in Africa.




Marianne painting lids. The pots and lids are painted black to attract the heat of the sun, and the pots are placed into a heat-resistant clear plastic bag which has a greenhouse effect of trapping the heat and keeping it in the pot. Like here in the US, black pots are not as prevalent as silver ones, so painting pots black is an essential component to solar cooking.




I showed a PowerPoint presentation, the SunCookers DVD about SCI's exploits in Kenya, and some photos of the recent Integrated Solar Cooking workshop in Uganda to the 20-ish participants. The presentation was given in the living room of TanzSolar. The Q&A session was lively and I see a lot of interest in possible project directions in Musoma.




I interpret this one as an amazed gaze up at the ever-productive sun :)

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