The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 5 - Tamale and the Pure Home Water Factory

The further north we go, the more we see the landscape change, becoming more agrarian, the Ghanaian skin color becomes more blue-black, and the village architecture becomes more round huts with straw roofs than cornered buildings with tin roofs. Its been days since we’ve seen another Obruni (aka foreigner), but once we reach Tamale non-black people are everywhere. Its always a shock, because we forget we are white, and then we see another, and it’s a shock, a reminder that we are white also, though not as white as when we left. Its weird too because, when two Obruni pass each other on the street, they do not greet each other. I will watch one coming my way, and if they look my way, say I’ll “hello” or “hey” but most of the time, they know there, but won’t acknowledge it. I think it is very odd feeling, but maybe that just me.

Another change is we see more motor bikes here in a five minutes than we will see in Accra all day. They are everywhere, that and bicycles, zipping in and out of traffic beeping their horns and magically avoiding running pedestrians down. And the livestock. In Accra its mostly chickens and goats, but the further north we go the more cattle we see, and pigs. Ghana!

At the Pure Home Water House, we meet Claudia, and recent graduate of MIT, and Summer Intern that arrived in country about a week ago.

Pure Home Water
There is a water filter you will see in the homes of many Missionaries here, at least those from The Mission Society [click here], it’s the one we had in our home in Accra two years ago, and the one we currently have in our apartment here. Officially, known as the CT Filtron, or Pure Home Water Filter, but around our house as it was known as the Ghana Water Filter (its made here in Ghana), or the Mary Kay Water Filter (no its not pink).
The pamphlet says:
Being one of the main killers of children under five years of age, diarrhea is caused by ingesting certain bacteria, viruses or parasites which are spread through water, food, utensils, hands, files or mosquitoes. The great challenge is to fight diarrhea and Guinea Worm.
Pure Home Water is expanding their Tamale manufacturing plant, and Mary Kay asked if I could snap some pictures.

The Process
[The Workers]
At this plant we see filtering elements being made. The filtering element is made of porous clay (made so by the introduction of milled rice hulls that burn off when fired) and along with the colloidal silver, effectively eliminates dirt and bacteria from the water.
[Mixing of Clay for the filters] – Claudia measure out each the ingredients very carefully.
[Adding Water] – Water is measured and then added to the premeasured clay mixture.
[Kneading the clay until a uniform mixture is achieved]
[Weighing the mixed clay]
[Preforming the clay for the filter press]
[Placing the clay on the filter press]
[Scoring the clay]
[with clay covered, lowering the press form]
[pressing the clay into a waterfilter using a hand operated hydraulic jack press]
[Another perfect filter is made]
Everyone seems to stop what they are doing to watch the final stage of the filter creation process, almost like a filter is being born, and everyone wants to see what it looks like. The filter is removed from the press and let dry, first inside, the later outside in the sun. Then it is fired in the kiln.
[drying in the sun]
[Kiln, with fuel (sticks)]
The new building will house much of this operation inside, and the kiln looks to be much bigger.

[new building]

You will see two different filter designs. The standard flower pot design is the one we know and love, and Claudia is trying out a new filter design and filter process. This new half of an egg design does not filter water by gravity, but by siphoning water from the inside of the egg design. It is a cool idea, one I look forward to testing next time we are in Ghana.

That night we gather with much of the neighborhood to watch the last Ghana game, sitting outside watching a TV run from the inside of the house, and sitting on plastic chairs.
[watching the game]
Suzanne writes about it from Accra [click here]. After the game everyone sulks off and Tamale is as quiet as I have heard it. Not even the roosters are crowing.   

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