Hi, it’s Alison. I’ve been at MSABI for about two weeks now getting oriented on all the projects. I’m here through Engineers Without Borders-UK, along with Cai.

I’ve been working on the Pot Filter Project along with Nik. We have been doing water quality testing with existing pots and while working on new production methods. We are interested in finding trends between filtering ability, flow rates, and the ratio of clay to filler (rice husk or saw dust). So far we have been testing turbidity, but Dale was able to get supplies from Dar, so we are ready to start our fecal coliform tests on Monday. We have also been looking for ways to standardize production. At the moment, even with a template, the pots turn out different shapes and sizes. This has been frustrating. Precision is definitely not the womens’ strong suit, so we have been brainstorming simple ways to enforce uniform wall thickness, diameter, etc.

Every day there is a gaggle of kids who come to watch us do the water quality testing. Mostly they just stare, but sometimes they also help out with the work. Here is a picture of the kids working on grinding the dirt clods down to clay powder. This powder is then put through a sieve and the finest clay is mixed with rice husk or sawdust and water to make the mixture used for the pots.