Clay Pot Update

Thanks again to Darren Smith.  He has gone to his work buddies and raised another $800!!!!  That's great.  The money will be used for clay filters.

Speaking of which, the village people really like the idea.  They like that they can take it out to the "shamba" (farm) and use it to treat water that is often of low quality.  The village can sometimes be empty as everyone is out living on their shamba - sometimes families spend months living on their shamba.  Shamba life is hard, working all day in sun - In Summer I only last about 5 minutes before I resemble a wilting icecream cone.  In general, the shamba house consists of a small grass or mud hut about the size of a garden shed.  The frame is made from sticks.  A whole family will sleep in this small space.  The kitchen consists of a few pots and 3 rocks to balance them over a flame.  Water is either obtained from the local river or streams, or from shallow wells.  The majority of shambas are located in the vast flat floodplains of the kilombero river delta (of which a large part is a ramsar site).  The main crop now is rice, hence the water table is very high.  There is lots of water which makes moving around difficult.  For many families the shamba is their only income - so life revolves around the shamba.  So anyway, it is hoped the filters will make life a bit safer for days spent at the shamba.

So today Im hoping to get back a few more sample filter pots.  I have been communicating with "Potters without Borders".  They have been great and giving me lots of advice.  They recommend the pots be built in a factory where quality control is high.  I agree, but we have to work with what we have here, we dont believe there is capacity for a factory here.  So I will continue working with the local potters.  I am happy to say that I now have an expert potter on board.  George is a swiss guy who is living here with his wife who does skin culture research.  We have decided that we need to build a small kiln to fire the pots.  The current earth fires do not burn out all of the rice husk.  So we aim to build the kiln in May and start production in June.The size of the kiln will limit the speed of production, but we have to try to get the highest quality filters we can.   

My friend Willie and his family harvesting rice in their shamba - 8km from their village home.
Kilombero River.  Many people drink from this river, a rich choclate brown colour complete with hippos and large crocs. 

Typical Shamba Hut. Kitchen under alcove.  

Inside a grass hut, complete with grass bed and even a mosquito net.

Gourmet kitchen and walk in robe combination - the latest 09 must have.

Sukama family elders, including witchdoctor, with all the children of their extended family.  This family group lives in the shamba area looking after their cattle.  The Sukama people have been marganilised in Tanzania, shifted from one place to the next.  They are not popular with the dominant crop growing vllage people who blame their cattle for eating crops and dirtying water.
This is the above Sukama families water supply.  Not very inviting.

Typical shallow well - a common water source in the shamba areas.