An early start to get to Aco (a village about an hour away) and to pay my contact there for making me a dozen combustion chambers, moulded and fired and ready to withstand very high temperatures at the heart of the stoves I’m making. I also became the proud owner of about 0.5 tonnes of white clay, which will be the finishing material applied to the outside of the stoves, since it will help keep the heat inside.

This afternoon, I’m off to buy 6 tonnes of sand, 20 bags of cement and 1,600 bricks. Then the fun starts tomorrow….

Another early start (6am) to get to the village of Aco (1 hours away over bumpy and dusty tracks) and meet the chap who is probably going to be producing the combustion chambers for the stoves project. He’d forgotten to bring the prototype with him, so after hanging around for 1.5 hours, I got to borrow someone’s beetle and drive up to his village (another 30 minutes away on very bumpy tracks). The prototype needs a bit of altering, but it’s looking good and won’t be too long before the project can actually be up and running. I have to go back in 2 weeks to pick up the first batch (of 10) – I just hope he remembers to bring them this time!!

Up a little after 4:30am this morning to visit the tiny village of Quicha (key-cha) about 90 minutes bumpy driving away from Huancayo where the quality of their local clay is sufficient to make the combustion chamber that will be the heart of my stove project. I’ve got to go back next week in order to see a prototype, but thankfully an hour later!!

Been a bit quiet from me for the last couple of weeks since I’ve had my head down. While this has involved a few job applications, I’ve also managed to get 3 new business-related courses written for the Training Centre, so it’s off to the printers today and then picking up the teaching and text books on Wednesday, just in time to start teaching again on Thursday. I had some of my students last week tell me that they’re loving the way the course is put together (low on theory and high on practise), although that hasn’t stopped 4 of my morning class failing the course. Still, I don’t think the course (or the teacher!) can be blamed for that one – they are, coincidently, the 4 students who never/barely ever turn up to class!

I’m also now half planned for the forthcoming smokeless stoves project too. Should be going shopping this afternoon to look at prices and allow me to draw up a budget and then I’m getting up nice and early on Friday morning to head out to a distant village where a local producer could well be able to make the combustion chambers, the heart of the stoves, for me. Should hopefully have more of an idea by the end of the week about what the scope for this project is going to be and how it’s going to run.

The problem with deciding that you’re going to leave somewhere is that all the work you had stretched before you over the next few months gets compressed into much less time. The start of the next module at the Training Centre is mid-May, by which time I need to have written 2 new business courses from scratch, both teachers’ books and textbooks. That’s going to be a tall order in itself, but add to that the need to get the toilet project and the home-gardening project with the families finished and a new smokeless stoves project started before June, then it’s going to be a very, very busy few weeks ahead!

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