Run down

I have the flu. Not great - but not unexpected. Ive run myself down. There is too much going on, too many demands and expectations for me to keep up at the moment. But this is to be expected, and I guess a sign that things are moving ahead.

This last week I have run into a few problems. The staff are not very happy about being put on a contract wage - ie they get paid for the amount of work they do. They are still learning and their turn-over is not as fast as it will be in say a few months time. Hence, their salaries this month may not be as high as last month - a problematic issue for any manager to deal with in any local setting.

Secondly, the district water officer is apparently stirring up a few issues because he feels not inolved. But I have visisted his office multiple times and he is never there, so now we are organising a meeting with him through the Ifakara Health Institute. It is difficult as these things require political penache and can become frustrating when you want quick solutions.

We did our first test firing of the kiln on Thursday. It was a big success, the oven George has built performed beyond expectations. We drove the oven up to 1000 degrees C. The only problem was that when we inspected the pots on Saturday they were mostly distorted as the temperature was too high! haha. However the ceramic quality is excellent - so next time we will keep the temp around 870 degree C which should hopefully produce pots that dont melt!

Lastly, we have finished the 3rd borehole that we were drilling at Sukuma Land. It is very difficult for me to explain how remote this place is. In the wet season it is cut off from all forms of transportation as it becomes largely a flood plain with exposed high spots. We finished the well at 21m, passing through 4 aquifers seperated by clay layers - a perfect scenario. The team worked very hard - and a credit to them transporting all the equipment over bush tracks for more than 10km each way.

Wood for the kiln is bought in by donkey. We used less wood than we thought.
George measures the temperature

Very hot - too hot. You can see the pots in the background.

Sukuma animal stables for goats and sheep
The Sukuma compound kitchen
A Sukuma grandmother with grandchildren
Drilling at the Sukuma Compound
Sukuma elder
Women and children gather post lunch