Monday, July 29, 2013
For the most part, we achieved our goals each day. The exception was the final two days. On Saturday, the 27th, we wanted to complete the chimney, but we did not. The final smooth mortar for the stove top was, however, completed and there was plenty of time to install the chimney on the final day. On the last day, we ran out of sand and, therefore, could not do the final mortaring of the interior gas path (takes about one hour). The good news, though, is that Leo Dan who did this on one of the pilot stoves, lives close by and knows exactly what to do.
All in all, the workshop went well. Eighteen promoters (attendees) participated, asked a lot of questions, learned a lot, tried a lot of processes/procedures and are ready to make more stoves to really learn the process well. We are returning to Seattle tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7/30) and plan to come back in September to work with the promoters as they build eighty-eight more stoves. Meanwhile, THP and the communities have an enormous task ahead of them: to finish purchasing all the parts, transporting them to the area, distributing them properly so that each community gets the number needed for its planned stoves and manually moving the parts from the closest road to each community (up to a three hour hike).
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
We got the 8:45 bus to Haualta from the south bus station "TAPO". Axel's mom gave us a ride to the station. We drove around a few times as the main entrance was closed. The bummer of the day is we got seats with less leg room. Our knees will be bruised. The ride is a good 6+ hours. The bus stops now and then to pick a up food vendors. For me bus & plane rides are a chance to do some fun reading. On this ride I am reading "Red' by Terry Tempest Williams. My head is deep in red rock country :)
After we leave Haualta, we will be off line as in Tenango there is only one Internet cafe, with limited hours. We have a satellite phone but it is$1.50 a minute to make a call.
Thus, wish us good luck with our stove building, and we hope to post an update when we have a good connection.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Our plan is to finish the one stove we started before the elections. If all goes well we will start work - workshop on Thursday morning and we should complete the stove - workshop and light a fire in it, on Sunday afternoon. But you never know how things will go until it is complete.
We are happy to get back to what we came to do, however the full scale (building the 88 stoves) program will not resume late September.
We will be offline (satellite phone only) until we leave San Jose Tenango and get to Haualta (cell coverage starts- ends there), on our way back to Mexico City (hopefully on Monday morning).
Wish us luck and successful building - cooking.
Monday, July 22, 2013
We had another subway adventure this morning to meet Enrique and his business partner David. Enrique is an Ashoka fellow, for his work on rain water harvesting at IslaUrbana We meet with Enrique to talk about a collaboration in the Mazatica, and the new Rotary project.
We met at the famous statue of the Coyotes.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
The community is very unique as there is a guard who controls access in and out of the community and there is NO drinking or drugs allowed. Most of the houses are built in a connected row fashion. they are only about 6' high and only 15 x 15 ft in floor area!. These houses are not "legal" in the sense that they do not have formal "rights" to the land.
However, with the newer housing (under construction) the owners have land rights. There is no running water and all the water is delivered by water trucks into open top 55 gal plastic barrels. Each barrel is numbered with the family's house #.
We were invited specifically to look at the opportunities and challenges to provide rain water harvesting and dry latrine solutions. In addition, they are interested in a community garden.
Like all opportunities this one presents its unique challenges and opportunities. We look forward to collaborating with these Rotary Clubs to help provide innovative solutions.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The meeting was held in the Club de Banqueros Mexico, which is downtown in the historic district. We took the subway from our hotel and arrived much too early (we are gringos) so we stopped at a very upscale coffee place Puntos del Cielo, which has some very fancy and the most expensive espresso machines I have ever seen, to kill some time! Yes ,the coffee was great :)
The meeting was very formal and started promptly at 8:30, We were introduced as the "distinguished visitors" and we apologized for our casual dress as we were not planning on having these kinds of opportunities on this trip.. We were given about 10 minutes of the pre-programmed time to be introduced by Ferando and give my pitch promptly at 9:10.
I think the pitch went great with Stan advancing the slides every 15 seconds (as I could not figure out how to get PowerPoint to do it). After the meeting Stan and I were invited to do a site visit to the community center site on Thursday for us to see and think about the possibilities.
Our next adventure with the subway began when we misread the transit map and took the wrong train. We then were like "prairie dogs" at several stops. Coming up to street level and realizing we were not where we wanted to be. Thanks to Google maps we got our bearings and after several stops and transfers we got the correct train, only to find that it was not running! Thus we had a 20 minute walk to get to the THP offices.
Now, after the great lunch by Sylvia we are stuck inside due a big thunder storm.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
The second challenge is the design has changed significantly since we arrived in Mexico to accommodate some different internal materials. And the difficulty - frustration is exacerbated by the fact that I am using my mini computer (10" screen and no mouse)!
I know a ProE "Jockey" could make these drawings in no time, but I am no expert in this and I really don't want to be one.
This design is a small step improvement from our original design which is easier to build, but not the final design which will be much easier to build and significantly cheaper.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
We spent a good 2+ hours there. It was great but, most of her famous art was not on display there. It was great to walk through her life and house.
Then, upon getting to the subway station (a new line) we had to buy smart cards to get our fair! $10 pesos. Now I feel like I need to ride the subway a lot to amortize the cost. :) Anyway we got our smart cards and were back at our stop (General Hospital) in no time. It was well after 4pm and way past lunch time so we then ate a GREAT meal at this roadside cafe.
Jacob takes off tomorrow (Monday back to DC as there is no point for him to stay as his scheduled return was on 20 July and if we go go back to Tenango to finish the stove he would have only had 1-2 days there.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
But, “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry.” Elections were held on Sunday, July 7th. The results came in and the final count had the top two vote getters within 400 votes of one another, out of 7,500 cast. Monday night the losing party decided to show their dissatisfaction with dynamite and gun play, which made the national news here. The Hunger Project decided to pull out of the area completely and to wait until the vote is certified and the local community has calmed down before resuming the cook stove project. We are now in Mexico City and will meet at The Hunger Project Headquarters tomorrow to determine our next steps.