I'm just delivering my small update on a nice calm, quiet Sunday night, but unfortunately the internet is down throughout the hotel. I am sending this via the Priest's usb internet service from a local phone company. Last Friday I left off nearly completing the first 10 attachment interfaces. With nearly all the necessary metal pieces cut, I began the details- holes, grinding, bending, and welding- on those pieces 10 at a time near the end of week. Jospeh, while in Dar es Salaam has been purchasing the necessary bicycle parts- much cheaper there than in Arusha (the Arusha bicycle stores get their spare parts from Dar). Those should be arriving Monday night. This weekend has been pretty relaxing, only making arrangements with Shaibu's help for Semyon and a local Tanzania crew to represent GCS at Nane Nane. GCS will have its first local hires to help with Nane Nane! Over dinner Friday he gave me the form and we talked. This early evening, after dinner and a game of pool, I gave him the form to turn in Monday (the office of TASO, Tanzania Agricultural Society who annual hosts the event is near Tumaini Cycles) and he promised to talk to Mwalimu Charles and to trusted Tumaini Cycle students who supported Jodie last summer about working for GCS during the 10-day Nane Nane event.
Jodie came up with a brilliant idea that we plan to pass by Bernard fairly soon- to showcase his own inventions at GCS' Nane Nane lot! I think this would be great for Bernard- a chance to be seen, and sell his machines while helping us to promote our social mission of spreading appropriate technology.
I received a phone call today from Geoff with the NGO ___ . They have been working on various projects including promotion of small businesses in Mufundi in the south eastern part of Tanzania. He heard about our machine, checked out our website and contacted Jodie. In the phone call, he expressed interest in purchasing a few of our products and having them transported to Mufundi through their own service (they have books from a library in Arusha regularly transported to their location in Mufundi and it would go along with that). He also asked who was our target customers and how we are planning to proceed with our attachments. Of course I explained our model of encouraging small businesses with them or use through groups and communities, which he seemed to approve for their purposes. He affirmed they widely use Phoenix bicycles there as well. He asked me if we had the grinder yet, because, while the sheller sounded good, he felt the grinder may be even better of use to them in Mufundi (some people would still shell corn by hand, but would really appreciate the help of the grinder) and was also very interested in the water pump idea. That was interesting input for future use. He then asked about pricing and readiness and I told him I could give him a price estimate of per bicycle attachment/Rahisisha soon and more information on when they will be ready for purchase. I am working to tabulate how much it has currently cost to make the 50 here, and have the team decide a sale price to the NGO- you'll see in email in a day or two on that. (Woohoo, potential first sale!!)
This week I plan to continue toiling in the workshop putting together as many Rahisisha's (as they are now called, and not Geuza). My palms are getting tough and my arms a bit stronger as it is becoming easier and easier to do some things, like double bend small flat stock pieces that were once very difficult for me- and hold the grinder for about half an hour! (Geez, it is heavy). Jospeh will be around to help in construction and Shaibu will occasionally come after his work. I look forward to a really exciting and productive week as we complete our Rahisisha's and prepare for the 16th annual Nane Nane!
Until next time,
Arusha, Tanzania, Africa