Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nyumbani Test Hydroponics System

Hydroponics system at work

how to get things done less "pole pole" (slowly) in the village

This week I was assigned with the task of installing a new pump on the test hydroponics system in one of our greenhouses in the village. The hydroponics system is pretty cool; it consists of  fish tanks and beds of vegetables that are connected by circulating water. This water runs from the bottom of the fish tanks, where it is filled with waste from the fish, into the beds of vegetables. When the vegetable beds fill with water to a certain level a siphon is triggered and the water returns to the fish tanks, filtered of bacteria and aerated for the fish. Symbiosis at its best!

The pump was pretty simple to install but I needed extra wiring to connect the new pump to a DC voltage source since the source used with the old pump was AC. So I arranged to meet with Benjamin, who works in maintenance, at 2 pm to finish the job. At three thirty there's no sign of Benjamin and he's not picking his phone up. The sun is hot, my patience is waning so I decide to take drastic measures. I unplug the old pump so the water is no longer being aerated, I change all the wiring I can in preparation for the new power source and I call Patrick, who I've asked to look out for Benjamin for me.

"Patrick, I've turned off the pump. The fish are suffocating. Where's Benjamin with the wires?"

"Hold on. We'll be there in 5 minutes" Patrick responds.

"You better be; the fish aren't looking too good" I say in my most worrisome voice.

Five minutes later guess who shows up! Benjamin, wires in hand. I ask him why he didn't come at 2 pm and he says he didn't think it was a serious job (because you know, some jobs are serious and some are just for kicks I thought).

As we're doing the wiring together he says to me accusingly "The fish are crying". Without skipping a beat I respond  "Damn right they are".

I've never felt the need to potentially kill an entire school of fish  but hey, if threats of death are what I need in my arsenal to get something done, then I need not waste any more time writing this blog, I'm going out to look more potential victims!

Celebrating my birthday in Nyumbani

me at 24 in Nyumbani. Thanks for testing out my camera on me Magdalene :)

thanks Lucy, Becky, Lillian, Patrick, Jackie and Nicholas (he took the picture) for a great birthday dinner!