Our last week in Malawi has quickly snuck up on us, so we have decided that denial is the best way to go (we'll just pretend we get to stay in Malawi forever :) ). Just kidding, but in all reality, each day with the community has been so wonderful, from having nsima eating competitions and teaching Mr. Masamba to jump rope to working hard to put each component of the maize mill together, we couldn’t have asked for better people to work with.
Before the week started, we discovered what happens when you wait two weeks to wash the clothes you have been working in. See the results of just one wash… (we still have no idea how we accumulated so much dirt!)
This week, we have been tirelessly working on building the grinding stand that holds the grinding heads, which is an attachment to the section of the stand already built. With the stand built, we were able to have our machinist and friend, Levison, make a beautiful feeder for us from our planned designs. (Notice how cool of a mom Dorothy is, working hard EVEN with her adorable baby on her back all day!)
On Wednesday, we were able to finish the construction of the feeder along with its many components and could test the grinding of the maize. For the first pass through the grinder heads, it worked very well, easily breaking the shell of the maize. As we continued testing, the maize was put through a few more times with a different combination of grinding heads. The results of this are shown in the size of maize going from large to small.
We sifted out the flour product, however, the women in the committee told us that the flour produced was a bit to coarse for regular nsima but good for the porridge that they eat each morning. This definitely was not exactly what we wanted to hear, however, it was a step in the right direction to see that we were creating a product they actually use daily. Despite this setback, we are going to do what we can to the best of our ability create a higher degree of fineness before we leave, and continue to do so once we return to Cal Poly if the flour created still needs to be finer.
It has been an extremely productive couple of days, and we look forward to the rest of the week!
Miss you all!
FUN FACT: Cockroaches have the ability to launch themselves off of the sides of walls and directly onto you. The best reaction discovered has been to freak out, wipe it off, and just RUN. This is fact, not just personal experience :P