Sunday, 20 November 2011

September 2011 - Biogas reactor Building day

Jan and Jan measuring the size of the hole
Stage two in the Biogas reactor project happened by chance, otherwise we would probably still not have finished it. We had gone to Uniondale for the monthly market, and went to say hi to Rico who owns the Little Theatre Cafe.. anyways, who do we meet there? Jan and Anel Burger from the Kammanassie. Now we had met them before, and we had told Rico about the Biogas project thing, and he had sort of spread the word fare and wide in the meantime..

Discussing plans
That being said, we ended up standing in Rico's kitchen discussing the reactor with them all, when Anel quickly decided that they needed to come and learn more. So a date was set, and she would bring a picnic and two extra workers. We just had to explain how it works etc.. lol. So on the 20th September 2011 they arrived at our place early in the morning, and very quickly everyone was working except Anel and myself who are both pregnant.. :)

Mixing cement

The dimensions of the hole for the reactor was measured, we had acquired a whole bakkie load of hob-house bricks, sand, cement and gravel, and the men set to work on building the walls of the reactor (the actual pit that the bag would go into). Very shortly after that, the two extra workers had started to mix the cement for the walls. I don't think I have ever seen cement mixed so quickly.. :) Benson and his friend were super efficient!

Jan and Jan trying their hand at mixing cement

In fact they made it look so easy that Jan and Jan wanted to try.. It was mixed in large batches, and shovelled into the wheelbarrow, and then tipped into the pit, trying to get as much as possible into the open cavities of the bricks.. I think they all had lots of fun doing this... kind of like little boys playing in the mud. hehehehe.... Anel and I in the meantime got some refreshments ready while we chatted.

Eish!! Is heavy...

But carting cement like that in a wheelbarrow can be hard work on the arms, and trying to aim into the right place even harder.

Jan and Jan would continuously check that everything was level as they went along, although with the pit consisting mainly of clay and it being rather difficult to do anything about the uneven edges they had to make do in some places.

How we work in South Africa .. 

The bricks were laid thick and fast, and while Jan and Jan were checking levels, Benson and friend would supervise.. lol.

Happy chappy!

Positioning of the outlet.. or the inlet.. :-|

They somehow managed just fine though, and within a couple of hours the walls were done and the bricks were finished.. Of course the actual height of the reactor walls were short a couple of rows, but since we ran out of bricks they had to just finish what they could.  Then it was time to cast the floor of the reactor. Concrete was mixed continuously, and poured into the pit, after which Jan and Jan would spread it evenly and level it.

Leveling the floor of the reactor

By the time they were done with that they were very pleased with the work done, and we all broke for lunch. Anel had really packed a wonderful basket of goodies, so Thank You Anel for that. <3

Admiring their work :)
We all enjoyed what was given to us, and for the light conversation. It was such a lovely day actually, cause not only did they help us with something that had been a headache for a while, but it was an opportunity to get to know them better, which was great for us as well.

Late that afternoon, they packed their bakkie, their worker and off they went the experience richer, and us .. well we stayed but just so an experience richer.

So next time we will be at their farm in the Kammanassie, and then I am sure we can return the favour. :)

The pit as far as it would be completed this time round.

So till then - 
Thanks Anel and Jan for being so determined to learn, and contribute even though you hardly knew us from a bar of soap at the time. It really was an awesome experience for us, so thanks for giving us the opportunity to get to know you both better as well. <3

We have since completed the reactor pit, and placed the bag in, and connected it to the one toilet. We have also added manure, and dog poop, and grass clippings.. so we just wait now for the little bugs to actually realise that there is plenty of food for them now so they can start producing gas. We have already got small pockets of gas, and have just recently tested it using a special two plate stove... but more on that another time.. hehe.

1 comment:

  1. Shoo cool man...that must have been a first class day