Hi all, Muraho from Kigali! It’s the end of our second full day here in Rwanda, and we couldn’t be more grateful for how everything has gone. This is our first update email, and we will continue to send these emails out every couple of days. If you would like to be removed from the email list, please let me know! Also, for those in communication and media, please be sure to check any articles with us for accuracy and tone before publishing.
Hello from Nyange! Days 3 & 4 On Saturday we participated in Umuganda day (a nationwide day of community service held in every district every last Saturday of the month) at a school building site in the capital of Kigali. The EWB group packed onto the bus with the Food and Agribusiness Institute, the other Santa Clara Group that is in Rwanda at the same time as us. Together, our groups headed a short 10 minutes down the road to a school where hundreds of people had already begun swinging hoes and pick axes.
Hello from Nyange! Muraho! (Hello!) The past two days have been amazing! We left Muhunga around 7:30 am to head to Nyange on both days. To respect the co-op members’ time and need to still work their crops and make food, we always plan to leave the community by 1 pm. For these two days, our team’s agenda included cooperative member interviews and cart assembly and testing on the local terrain.
What a productive couple of days we have had in the community. The first thing we want to do is send out the hugest thanks and kudos to the students and faculty from the Food and Agricultural Institute (FAI). They joined us in Nyange for both days 6 and 7. As we have mentioned in past communications, our community needed to widen their footpath to accommodate the electric cart. When we arrived on day 4 to reconnect with the cooperative, we walked the new trail.
The three days before the trip (August 18-21) were dedicated to the final adjustments on the cart, last minute trip logistics, and making sure that everything was packed and ready to go. Lauren, Isabella, and Sydney disassembled and reassembled the cart, taking careful note of what materials were used so that they could create an operational manual that will be translated into Kinyarwanda for the community to use. Teal, David, and Jon worked on finalizing the electrical wiring between the solar panel and the battery box.
After designing the cart during the school year and the long hours put in during the evenings after work we were finally able to get our electric wagon on the trail to test it. Overall it went very well! The cart trekked up hill very easily, it was actually harder to go down hill! We learned that the front wheels need some adjustments to endure the loads. We made a video!
After the failure of the front castor wheels in the last testing, we replaced the wheels with a much stronger brand of wheel. The new wheels are welded in two spots separated by a distance so that they can resist a moment caused by potential side loading. The QC2 tests these new castors, and we experiment with front/rear wheel drive. We ultimately decided to keep the rear wheel drive because otherwise the transaxle would take the brunt of the forces.
Greetings from Kigali! We arrived on Tuesday evening to a warm welcome from Father Innocent, who is our everything. He organizes transport, lodging, some meals, gives the best hugs, inspires us, and we would be lost without him. On Wednesday morning, we got off to an early start and headed out into Kigali to pick up SIM cards, exchange cash, and print some technical drawings of the cart to take to the welder.
Hello all, Our last two days in Rwanda were busy and bittersweet. On Monday, the team split up for the last time: Garrett, Ben, and Dr. Doyle headed out to community to use a pump (the correct pump this time) to drain the borehole and obtain a flow rate, while David, Megan, Dr. T, and Katie stayed at Centre Christus to run calculations for the water project and pick up everyone’s clothes from the market.
Muraho (hello) all, On Friday, our fourth day in country, the water team started organizing the water information and doing some research in order to figure out what questions to ask the community and the sector engineer who has been helping them with their project. Innocent, the welder, surprised the team on Thursday night by revealing that the cart had been welded, so the cart team set off to Safintra Friday morning to pick up the cart and bring it to Sunpreme, the machine shop where the wheel clamps and battery box were being fabricated.