We’ve finally here on our long awaited trip to Ghana. After an eventful journey consisting of:
· Five flight delays
· One changed flight
· One “Ice Storm”
· 500 pounds of checked luggage
· Two lost bags
· Seven TSA checked bag notices
· Two turbulent flights
· One turbulent car ride
· One million pot holes
· And 24 hours later
we’ve made it to KNUST, just outside of Kumasi. We began work right away on Monday morning, bright and early, leaving around 9:30 am. Maybe that wasn’t so bright and early, but since then we’ve been up and running by 7:00 am. And we’ve done a lot of work too. We’ve assembled three beautifully functioning graters complete with new coats of paint. With these machines we’ve been able to grate and press over 100lbs of cassava fresh from the market. And when I say fresh, I mean fresh. Farmed and sold in the same morning.
This Thursday, we brought two of these new machines to PKK to replace previously functional graters. Two of our customers and invaluable codesigners, Auntie Akosua and Auntie Ama, were ecstatic to begin grating cassava again. Auntie Akosua’s previous grater became dysfunctional a few months ago and Auntie Ama’s grater shocked her three days ago (though it’s not clear what caused this). As soon as Auntie Ama’s new grater was running she grated an entire bowl of cassava in about 10 minutes.
We’ve also greatly improved our ratchet strap press with a new ratchet that is larger than life. The ratchet strap press uses a ratchet to squeeze two wooden boards together with a bag of cassava sandwiched in between. The press was tested out last semester, but after some work here in Ghana, we’ve finally proven it a plausible design. On top of this we’ve built a new double lead screw design with lead screws and a board that rotate out of the users way to prevent them from being placed on the ground.
We’ve received a lot of help with the new press designs from Aunite Ama and Auntie Akosua. Both still have their flaws, but we’re one step closer to the end goal. For example, releasing the ratchet strap press makes a noise like a small gunshot. Auntie Akosua said the sound alone could kill a person…. We’ll need to look into this further.
In the coming week, we’re hoping to build a brand new press and ideally assemble a few more graters. We’re running a tight schedule too. A new press and grater will need to be sold this Thursday. Cross your fingers that the power stays on for us!
Wish us luck and check back later for our next post!