Lapia! _ from Moundou with hope!

One week has passed since I’m here, but it seems in fact longer…

It’s 15h, the 23rd septeber. It’s extremely hot and my skin is already burning even though I just took a cold shower. I can hear music and kids playing outside the missionary compound, where I am staying, and there’s a sweet sent in the air…

Moundou has changed a lot in 6 months and life seems to participate of an accelerated pace. When I first arrived in february there was only one paved road, now many other roads are paved and new roads were built. The new bridge is open, now there are two bridges side by side: one for motor-cycles and pedestrians and other for cars and heavier vehicles. There are now traffic lights (that work!… but that are hardly respected), there are public light posts in many roads, but according to Aquilas they only work occasionaly. Although, many essential services still lack, for instance, at the missionary compound where I’m staying, we get maximum 6 hours of electricity each day. 3 hours by mid-day and 3 more hours between 18h and 21h, and I think this second round of electricity is produced by the compound’s solar panels… so public light is only 3 hours a day.

Today me, Aquilas, Ghislain, Patrick and Pascal went to visit a terrain about 20 km from Moundou, on the road Moundou-Doba. About half an hectare that Aquilas is purchasing for Envodev. An investment for the future, he says smilling!

Envodev’s activities are moving forward. I was very pleased to see three little yellow cook-stoves made out of tin cans and clay. We are soon going to prepare a small experiment to try and compare both the improved cook-stoves and the wire stoves, the ganoun (that are usualy used here in Chad). I’m looking forward to share with you the results.

Yesterday we went to Domane. We spent a couple of hours between producing briquetes and discussing the viability of the project… calculating resources available and costs. We came up with very encouraging results for Domane: for a low production forecast we will have minimum annual production of more than 52000 bags of ecoCharcoal (50kg each bag); we also made a calculation with the local population on the estimate local consumption and it is less than 50% the total anual minimum production. This means that, in a very gloomy production scenario, we’d still have more than 25000 bags of ecoCharcoal to bring and fuel Moundou. I found this result very encouraging, because we didn’t yet target the main rice production regions: Laï and Kélo. We are thinking about going there and establish some contacts while I’m here, maybe after we come from N’Djamena after our three-day training with MCC.

So overall, the project is doing more than fine. Aquilas and Ghislain are doing an excelent job in the improved cook-stoves project and with Domane. And we all agree that the most urgent and important issue to take care of right now, is the improvement of the production line… mainly at the briquete production level. The equipment that is giving us more problems are the molds for the briquetes… and quite honestly, I see it as a sign, that this is where we should be working in order to improve the whole production, in order to have a significant production scale and make the ecoCharcoal available in cities at a low price, so we can effectivelly address the energy crisis issue at the urban level and the deforestation level, strongly felt mainly around the cities where vast areas of forest are cut to address the city’s energy needs. Obviously Domane won’t be sufficient to fuel a city like Moundou… much less N’Djamena, where the energy problem is yet even more serious, but as we move the project up to the rice fields, here we will certainly find enough natural resources.

We are now going to drink the Porto wine bottle that I brought from Portugal: me, Aquilas, Ghislain, Larry De Armey (David’s father that I had the priviledge to personally meet here during this stay) and Gene (MCC’s Moundou representant).

This trip is doing quite fine and I’m glad, hopefull and confident for the project. It has a strong foundation behind: good principles, people motivated and willing to give for the projet.

I’d like to thank Patrick that came all the way from Youndé, Cameroon, to get to know the project. We totally apreciate your commitment and belief for the project. We’ll keep in touch. Thanks a lot!

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