2009-09-15 So when I got back to PCZHQ I got probably about an hour, hour and a half before the network stopped working again… and then the monitor of my laptop died…electronics don’t like me… and I’m begging to not like them…
2009-07-30 Today was a fair..ly successful day. After stopping at the design shop, I went to the Lusaka AG fair. The fairgrounds remind me a lot of the Big-E, only imagine what the Big-E would be like if it replaced the rides and game stands with more AG related things. In about 4-5 hours I found out more about renewable energy and remote internet then I have the entire time I have been researching the subjects. I met with this technology school based in the Copperbelt that had designed a bicycle that could run on solar power alone. The really useful part was when I asked where they had gotten the engine from and they said that it was from a windshield wiper. When I go back to Chipata (tomorrow actually, although I will be back here in a week or so) I will look into getting one of those little things and using it to do the reverse of what the school exhibiting was doing, make a generator out of it. Then I tracked down a digital system engineering company that it was rumored they were making low RPM generators. Although, from the previous stop I had found a almost certainly cheaper alterative to a new specialty device, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to talk to someone there. The company did not stock such a machine and was about to exit the building when I thought about asking him about ham radio. As it turns out, he is a licensed operator in S.A. Unfortunately he didn’t know how to get a license here, but when I stopped at ZNBC, they really liked the idea of an amateur radio program in local schools and got my contact information about getting a program under way in Chadiza. Finally, I was on my way out of the grounds when I stopped at the Zambia Meteorology Department. I overhead someone saying the word “internet” and my ears picked up. Apparently there is a device that is being distributed throughout Zambia and elsewhere in Sub Saharan Africa that is in essence a Short Wave Wi-Fi that is used for its own intranet. When I got back I Google’ed WorldSpace, the name on the top of the units they were using to connect. Initially I didn’t find anything until I found their not-for-profit arm. Essentially they are doing what I have been attempting to do for some time, bring low cost internet to remote villages. Check them out at: http://www.firstvoiceint.org . Alright, still have a lot to do before I get a brief rest and head out on the long trek back to Chipata.
Yesterday I spent the morning and first part of the after 1200 hours doing more research in long range wireless radio, then I switched to design and spent the rest of the night doing a CAD drawing of a water wheel pump and printing steps for making a stirling engine. Today I will hopefully be going to DisaCare to work on my cycle and to show them the work I was doing the previous day.
In Lusaka for a week, probably spending most of it online downloading things and doing research, also getting some things that can only be got here.Arrived pa Monday and spend last night and will spend tonight at a home stay with the US deputy ambassador.There house just goes to show what people with money can get in Zambia – it looks like a house that someone with a six-seven figure salary would live in back in the states.I felt a little better about it being so posh when I learned that the majority of the large things there are not theirs but are just US Government property and probably the reason it is so grand is because that is where they bring all there guests – many of which probably have as grandiose of a place as there – and might not look good to have it look like a village hut.(there is an argument for why it would, but I’m not going to get into that).Because they have a lot of guests, the food they cook (or their cook cooks) is exquisite.
A frustrating day spent trying to do work on my laptop using the Wi-Fi connection at the PC house that would only work in about one or two minute spurts, and then stop working.I didn’t get much done.That night (New Years Eve) my home stay had some other embassy friends over and we played a round of cranium.
My home stay said yesterday there was Wi-Fi at their house so I went early in the morning and got my laptop from the Volunteer lounge and spend most of the day using their DSL satellite connection to download podcasts, upload some Chichewa words that I had recorded myself saying and edited the little bit of footage I had shot of Dovu village, Chadiza district and Chipata.
Went to the PCHQ and after some waiting, got a ride to try to get parts for my cycle (to no success) and some electrical components (0.47 ohm resisters among other things) however although there was a wide selection, the only thing they did have were some fuses which I probably could have gotten just about anywhere.I then went to the shopping mall (Manda Hill) and stocked up on some more granola (although they didn’t have the type or the size I was looking for) and some shampoo (although they were all out of the size I was hoping for).Surprisingly undiscouraged, I waited around at the PCHQ for a while, trying to wait for the rain to let up and for someone who I had thought would know where there were some used bicycle wheels that were lying around, but apparently they had all been either auctioned off or trashed.I started walking back to the house I had been staying at but my APCD drove up and gave me a ride the rest of the way.I spent the rest of the day working on uploading my video and my photos.Now I am really tired so I think I will go to sleep.