ODUMASE DAY#12

Today thanks to Vincent, Charles, Sam, Chris Brown and Eric the greenhouse finally got its cover!
Starting early in the morning we first cutted many pieces of plastic sheet. The first idea was to cover the dome with vertical stripes of plastic, filling the gap between levels of hubs. Since the scaffolding was to small for this kind of fixing, we then decided to cut many triangles. The cutting became faster and even the fixing, while we needed to be careful when joining the plastic together. To make the cover enough waterproof it was necessary to fold the plastic pieces before nail them.
This last day was quite stressful but in the end we completed almost all the covering. The openings are also fixed with metal hinges. The top ones will be fixed while the bottom ones can be open depending on climate and wind condition. In fact, in order to use geothermal cooling it will be necessary to close those down windows and maximize the air flow through the underground pipe.

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The guys will continue with the finishings next week.
We truly thank VID and Gianpaolo Gullotta to have involved us in this project and all the local people who  supported us in all the construction phases, first of all brother Ricky!
The overall cost of this 80m2 prototype is around 900€, including materials and labour. In the beginning we were suppose to achieve a low building budget around 3000€ for a 110m2 greenhouse. Moreover the used materials are all available in the local market of Sunyani as well as the construction system could be easily improved in the Salesian workshop starting from the workers who really helped us during these days.
For these reasons, we hope that this geodetic design could really become an affordable and effective system for local farmers to start a sustainable business in agriculture.
From now on VIS team starts monitoring the greenhouse to see how the adopted solutions are responding to the expected results.
Further news and projects might come soon!

 

Annunci

ODUMASE DAY#11

It’s time to assemble! After the bottom structure has been built by the three of us, today the guy at the metal workshop came to help. They brought energy and amusement. In a day we therefore complete the structure, working from 6am to 3am without lunch. We can say it was a success since every piece joined with the others. We could maybe improve the scaffolding management because they were heavy to move and short. The construction process has started from a side, moving along the circumference linking 3 wooden pieces each time.
With fun and sweat we eventually rised the structure. We are now ready to fix openings which Paul and the others finished today. After that we are going to fix the tarpaulin and take the bus back home, because our time here in Ghana has almost ended!

 

 

ODUMASE DAY#10

Dumsor dumsor dumsor. It may be bad luck, it may be just an ordinary issue but we need somehow to face it. The welders decided to ask a friends to use their workshop, which is place in town, whereas all the villages around are still without light. In that way they could have completed the hubs, and they painted them during the afternoon. At the same time, also the wood workshop had some problem because without electricity they could not finished the windows frames. Tomorrow will be the last chance to finish the structure. The pieces that we have already made have been joint together, so that half of the bottom structure is almost done. With more people and more energy we really hope to finish everything before living.

ODUMASE DAY#9

Fighting against the time we are back to work. The welders are welding as fast as possible. We painted the hubs with black oxide paint mix with petrol. At the wood workshop they are trying to complete the openings frames. Unfortunately the first blackout came. It was not dumsor but a problem at the electric cabin. They somehow solved it but after few minutes it came again. At the end, even dumsor stopped us, but we were already prepared to go on with other things. We than prepared the scaffolding, moved the wood to the site together with some hubs and the assembling started! Tomorrow will be a crucial day for the construction completion…

 

ODUMASE DAY#8

Dumsor! That is what we experienced today. Dumsor is the energy blackout that happens very often here in Ghana. So, if you are planning to schedule your working week or organize yourself before a deadline, than be sure to include dumsor within your list! Apart from this, in the early morning, thanks to Joshua, Samuel, Michael and all the guys of the welding workshop we tested all the hubs assembling a portion of the dome. The result has been definitely satisfactory!  Meanwhile Paul prepared the windows and door frames, which are calculated in order to ensure ventilation. The upper windows will be fixed whereas the bottom ones could be open. The reason is that with geothermal cooling we will only need the outlet at the top of the structure. The heating will go up extracting the fresh air from the underground pipes. Unfortunately this strategy could be only pursued in an empirical way.
At the site, we went on digging the trench for the underground pipes and Eric the teacher kept working on the wall with Jonas, Dustin, Ernest and Morupo and we faithfully look forward for them to finish by tomorrow morning. Only one blocks course left. Hope dumsor won’t be still between our time here, only 3 days left,  and the project completion!

ODUMASE DAY#7

Countdown has started. This Monday was a really busy day. During the morning we went to buy some materials, like the plastic sheet, paint, pipes etc. The way we move from one shop to another just to find a single screw of 3″ is not possible to tell. It takes around 4 hours to buy everything and going back without losing the patience! Who knows Ghana could understand what we are telling.
At the same time, thanks to Erik, the masonry teacher at the DBTI, many students came to help with the wall construction. We decided to enlarge the wall thickness in some points, where the structure met joints will be placed. Now, they have already built half wall and dug two trench, useful for the geothermal ventilation pipes. Joshua the welder is moving forward but still the joints are not ready. At least, the sample, 6ways, 5ways and 4ways joints are done. We will than  need to reinforce then with more welding points, than grind the sharp corners, paint them with black oxide to prevent for rust. The wooden profile are already treated with a antitermite product, and they are now ready to be assembled.

ODUMASE DAY#6

A full working Saturday here in Odumase. Thanks to students we have started to prepare the site. First it was necessary to mark the plan, which has a radius of about 4.5m. After that, we carried around 220 cement blocks from to the school to site. For the prototype we have choosed to use these cement blocks already available here at the school compound, even of the project design is supposed to us earth blocks, made out of the same soil you dig  when preparing the site before the construction. In the meantime, at the workshop they have plained and cutted the all wooden profiles, according to the designed measurements and angles. The angle should be very precise so that it can fit precisely into the metal joints.
We then spent the afternoon with the welder finding the fastest solution to make 46 metal joints using the profiles we have already bought. It was not easy to obtain a good sample but at the end it looks strong and precise. First they cutted around 400 pieces of 2″ flat bar 11cm long, then, they made the sample. Even for the pipe was not that easy to cut it straight, for this reason we also finished it using lathe. Joshua the welder seems interested on this process but still many details need to be solved. On Monday we’ll be back on site to go on with the construction

 

 

ODUMASE DAY#4

This morning we meet the agronomist. We showed him the solution we would like to develop. One has single roof, with earth wall, metal truss and pvc panels as roofing. The other solution can be the dome structure, made of small wooden pieces and metal joints. We asked him about insect protection, inside climate condition such as max temperature and humidity control. Since we are not finding suitable mesh he also suggested us to us to use the common one, used as mosquito net for openings, making it double. Therefore, he preferred to use metal mesh instead of plastic one.
We spent the afternoon with Ricky and Joshua, from the welding workshop. We tried to detailed and find prices out of the two solution. We have finally rich a general picture of all the available profile, both metal and wooden, in terms of prices and sizes, we could now make calculation and compare the cost of two solutions.

 

ODUMASE DAY #3

Today we’ve started to focus on greenhouses visiting what VIS has already built here in Sunyani.
First we had a  meeting with Gianpaolo, Michela and Ricky, showing our ideas to them and discussing solutions, according to their experience on site. We then moved to the Don Bosco Technical Institute. Ricky showed us how the workshops are organized, which tools they use, which material they are able to work an so on. Most of the structures inside the school are built by the students, with ingenuity and skills. Later on, Gianpaolo led us to the first VIS greenhouse. It has been built by an Accra based company. The structure looks well constructed and well detailed. Unfortunately it has a lack of ventilation, due to small vents, not placed at the upper part and only in the facade. Also the fun was not working. Therefore, the temperature was really high, without chance for breezes to pass through the mosquito net.
The same morning, we have checked materials availability for transparent roofing sheets, with good result in terms of cost. We’ve also found cheap pvc undulated panels, which was not available in Accra market. This material is softer then fiberglass but not weaker.
After lunch, it was time to visit Techi’s farm. On the way we stopped by the new church of francescani, which was interesting for the geodetic dome, made out of metal pipes. It could be a valuable idea for the greenhouse.
Techi has attended three courses at the Technical school and joined the greenhouse program few months ago. VIS has helped him during the starting part but he is now developing the greenhouse and his production of crops with really knowledge and passion. He showed us how to inpollinate tomatoes by self inpollination. His greenhouse looks more effective than the one used at the school for training. He plants his crops directly on ground (no buckets) previously sterilize. In both greenhouse, they use only biological to protect crops from insect. Now, tomatoes are growing strong. This type of greenhouse has better ventilation, without any mechanic features. The pick vents are working really well extracting heating outside. On top, it has different mosquito net, similar to the common one used for windows. The one provide together with the tarpaulin, by the greenhouse producer, has smaller mash, able to keep the white fly and other dangerous insect out from the greenhouse.
Around the greenhouse Techi has been developing a large farm, with hundred of cucumber plants and animals like turkey and chicken. He also gifted us with a rooster at the end!