Our final week was busy and productive, we had a lot of early morning followed by long days. We returned from our cultural excursion last Sunday to Patriensa with four of our six team members. Dr. Ezekoye and Rahul parted ways with us in Accra. We were sad to see them go, but motivated to finish out strong our last week. We spent the last week following up with families we had built stoves for and continuing to build stoves for more homes. DeGraft is the PPE manager who is in charge of both the sachet and sawdust initiatives. He came with us to each of the homes and translated for us. By the end of our trip, DeGraft could build the stoves, explain how to use them, and knew how to fix the common problems families encountered when using the stoves. We were so thankful to for DeGraft's help, and we are happy to know that we are leaving a sawdust stove expert in Patriensa. DeGraft told us he plans to follow up with the homes we build stoves for after we leave, and that he plans to help families we did not have time to see build stoves as well. We plan to follow up with DeGraft through email to see how our stoves are being used and to work through problems that come up with him. It was really neat to and to revisit homes that were using our stoves, and to see that people were beginning to gather sawdust on their own.
Our last day, Thursday, was one of the highlights of the trip, we accomplished so much. We started the day by riding in the back of a flat bed truck to pick up the 100 clay bricks we had contracted to be made. It was a bumpy ride through trails that I never would have guessed a truck of that size could fit on. We brought the bricks to village center and unloaded them. After building our first stove, Mike from KNUST met up with us to see us work and learn about our stoves. Next we built a stove for the queen mother of Patriensa. She was very thankful for the stove and remarked that she thought all the women in Patriensa could benefit from our stove. We worked until dark to build a total of 6 stoves that day. By the end of our trip we built a total of 37 stoves, a number we are very happy with. We could have easily kept going if we had more time. We had to turn down opportunities to build more stoves due to our trip ending, but we are hopeful that DeGraft will continue our efforts. As it was getting dark, we decided to visit three homes we had built stoves for the day before, and all three homes were using our stoves as we came by. This was such an encouraging note to end on. Mike was interested in following up on our project as well and told us that he intends to send one of his students to Patriensa to also follow up with our stoves and get feedback. Mike's student will be writing his thesis on biomass fuels and may include feedback from our project in his report. It is great to know that even though we are leaving, we have created points of contact to check up on our project.