January 3, we entered Ghana with 500 pounds of luggage in 10 different bags. We’ve left with 8 mostly empty bags and one fewer teammate. Don’t worry though; as much as we’ll miss him here in the USA, we’re very excited for BenCh to start his work with Burn Design Labs in Kenya. And he’s going to help us continue to improve the project this spring semester.
But what happened to all of that luggage in the two weeks in Ghana? Well. We built seven functional graters and deployed six. One returned home so the new team knows exactly what they’re working with. We built two new presses and modified an older one. All three were deployed, and one was sold. Some materials were left at ITTU for future work, a few old machines were brought home, and the existing jigs were also returned home for redesign.
We spent four days co-designing in PKK and visiting other villages. The remaining seven days in Kumasi were spent at ITTU in Suame Magazine testing and manufacturing. Two days at the beginning of the week were spent traveling, and finally we had three days to relax and fly home.
We arrived at IDE in Accra on Thursday evening around dinner time, and the following morning we visited a potential motor supplier. After that visit, a little driving took us to Ashesi University (on the hill in the picture below). Students and faculty from Ashesi visited us during the week, and we were given the opportunity to visit their university in return.
Finally, on Saturday morning, we hit the beach and did some shopping before it was time for us to board our flight home. But as you must know from my previous blog post, flights were never a simple matter for this team. We spent nearly three hours on the tarmac (I watched a full length movie with plenty of time to spare). There was a problem with the refueling panel of the plane. So after an hour or so of trouble shooting, it was decided that we would power cycle the plane to see if that fixed the problem. We were told over the intercom that this was a technique often used in “computeristics”. That’s correct. The plane was turned off and back on again. Tragically, when the plane was turned back on the problem was not fixed, so the panel was disconnected and we were told “it is possible we can still fly to Amsterdam”. And fly we did. We even kept some time from our original five hour layover.
And now we’re back. And the trip was a wild success. Rezzy and I will be continuing with ADE this semester, and we’re sad to see Carly, Bench, Ndungu, Roy, and Tyler go. We’ve picked up a new team of eleven people, and we’re full steam ahead into the project. The ADE space has been cleaned, the site manager chosen, subteams assigned, snack days set, luggage unpacked, and we’re ready to go. Wish us luck for the new semester.