Saturday, March 2, 2013

Local Design Windmill

On the return journey of a recent field trip to irrigation sites in the Malawian lakeshore district Salima, we practically stumbled upon a local windmill. Tucked behind an acacia grove, so invisible to the many cyclists and motorists passing by, a recent high school graduate had been busy making his dream machine: a windmill generator/water pump.
He had heard we passed by on our way to the field and waited by the roadside four hours until we returned. Before we could get back on the tarmac and drive away oblivious to his invention, he flagged us down and directed us to his home and the 30' tower made from eucalyptus globulus (blue gum) poles.
While the unit did not generate electricity yet, he was preparing to mount a bicycle dynamo to the wheel. We gave him some pointers to help him understand what was happening. He could really understand the kind of power he was looking for and how his design might not work.
Before leaving we gave the best encouragement we could, don't give up, etc., (knowing that this kid probably didn't need any more encouragement than his own ambition). In the car again, we discussed what we could do to help. We came up with a few designs we could build in the workshop and bring back to show him next month. Of course we hope he will also have some improvements by then.

These gems are found throughout the world if only we could find them all!