Production Update


I'm doing well and moving along quickly! Here is what I've been up to:

This past Wednesday we went to town to buy all the materials I would need. We first shopped around for all the prices, compared our offers and went with the best. However, we were having a hard time finding a pick up to help us take all our purchases to Mobility Care. Their connection was too far and Joseph's connection had his pick-up at the garage. We were left to ask around pick-up drivers we didn't know and who were looking for work, near the Central Market. We had yet to find a good deal on the pick-up when Benard joined us. We had lunch and then he took us to the hardware store that sells corn shellers. They had promised Benard to have a stock of 50, but they ordered the wrong item- sprinklers! They had 3 corn shellers in store however and we bought those (leaves me with 4 total - the one Jodie bought last summer plus the new ones). The shop owner would not tell me where he buys his stock from, naturally, to protect his business. All we know is that they come from India and there have Chinese symbols on each sheller. Maybe Jodie or Alex could help figure out what it says?! The second hardware store that may have had shellers was closed for the day. We'll try again next week, putting in a wholesale order of 46. Then we headed over to a bicycle shop that sells parts at good price and from whom we can order sprockets and chain “wholesale”. We bought only two boxes of chain (we want to confirm the needed length first) and two kid's single speed pedal cranks (for the sprockets- they only had two in store). They are not the exact size we used at MIT, but they are not much different and easier to work with. The chain and sprockets will be ordered wholesale as well. We bought steel directly from a supplier at a pretty low price and found a hub and Phoenix bicycle at a good bargain. The Tanzanians prefer the Phoenix bicycle because of its availability, strength and low price. It's structure is similar to the WBR bike, but the rear rack is a bit smaller, a bigger rack can also be found, but I think its current rack should be fine. I proudly slapped a GCS sticker on the green beauty on the top bar between the handles and seat. After being in the workshop, however, the white of the sticker began to look rather dirty. It still seems to match and look gorgeous to me.

With very little time left to get everything to Mobility Care before they closed, we found a pick-up driver who gave us a good deal and drove quickly with all our parts to the workshop (us following crazily behind). We made it and stored it, ready to be used the next day!

Working at Mobility Care was definitely a good decision. The workshop space is fantastic and the people are always ready to help. They also have a large and decent set of tools to share. We have nearly completed the first product model to work from, adjusting the Geuza - now called the Rahisisha- size to the Phoenix bike - and testing a new design change. It incorporates a hub in the ensemble. It looks promising but Monday we will begin the first tests! Joseph helped out at the workshop Thursday, and Bernard came on Friday (Thursday he had an emergency). He will come again on Monday to help finish the first one, the model. Meanwhile, I have been cutting all the recently acquired metal to prepare all the parts and I will continue to do so this week.

The workshop is closed for the weekend, so I decided to work on my updates and future plans and enjoy Lake Manyara, one of Tanzania's beautiful National Parks!

Future Plan summary: By the end of next week, I should have all pieces cut and marked and hopefully have begun all the small detail preparations (some holes, the bending, the welding- there have been a few changes to strengthen the ensemble and they seem to prefer the welding than having many many bolts).

Lisa, Tanzania

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