Sunday, January 13, 2013
Egotistical Chemical Engineers Learn How To Actually Build Things
Today we woke up and were feeling confident about getting everything done that needed to be done. Over breakfast, Ramsey and Dr. Steve were talking about how awesome the local church is and how cool the service is. Because of this, Erica and I decided to go to the service and then head down to the community after. Unbeknownst to us, the services in Cameroon are a lot longer than at home, so over two hours after the service had started, we had made it back to the Mayor's to pick up Dr. Steve and Ramsey. We went out to the community with all of our diagonal braces for the solar rack prepared to fix them. As we were driving, I got this sinking suspicion that although our holes lined up with the flat pieces, they wouldn't line up with the rack because of the fact that the c-channel could attach to the rack two ways (flipping 180 degrees around its long axis). This fear was augmented when we got to the site and two of the Bakang 1 pieces didn't fit onto the rack in any feasible way. However, our local mechanical expert (Dr. Steve) quickly sorted out our problem for us by explaining that we should put bolts in as placeholders and then tighten everything down later. Although our holes were still not perfect matches, this let us put everything together. It's a good thing that chemical engineers learn this kind of thing in school.
After the racks were assembled, I called Dr. Steve to see what he and Ramsey were up to, and he told me that we should walk up the Bakang 2 line checking for any breaks. When Erica and I got to the top, Felix was just finishing replacing a bit of pipe in the Bakang 2 line that had apparently been bludgeoned with a pick axe. It was kind of mind boggling that someone would have done that, but luckily it was an easy fix and so we began to inspect the rest of the system for any kind of tampering. Dr. Steve and I bush-wacked our way through head high grass from the Bakang 2 chief's to the junction box, which is how we spotted two leaks in the supply line to the ferrocement. Unfortunately, we still didn't know why there was no water in the Bakang 2 distribution line, but we hope to figure that out tomorrow.