Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Makers of MFA '09 - Post 1/3

Installed myself just outside the hotel, in the heat & darkness of a Ghanain bar. I have live music, a beer, and my Mac :-)

...Whatsmore, I am very pleased with myself, because if I orientate myself *just so* I can pick up the wifi from the Hotel Business Centre without having to sit inside the ice cold confines of its sodium lit, air-conditioned, anonymity. Bliss!

Although is is somewhat hard to know where to begin, I thought I'd dive right in and introduce you to 3 very different "Makers" I met today:
Meet Bernard, Yasmeen and Stephen.

Bernard Kiwia - Pedal Powered Hacksaw:

Bernard is a Tanzanian bike mechanic. Like many at Maker Faire Africa, he was also part of 'IDDS Ghana' last week (The International Development Design Summit) Bernard's "Make" is ... well it is a bicycle / pedal powered hacksaw for disabled workers. Which really has to be seen to be believed. He has also created a mobile phone charger, a water pump and a windmill, each based around cycle technology.

Yasmeen H. Nsiah - Handmade Soaps:

Yasmeen hand crafts soaps from natural, locally abundant, ingredients like shea, eucalyptus and coconut. She sells them at a premium price in her small store in Accra, citing that her native, minimally processed products are much better for the body than highly processed chemically stabilised American brands which, as they are imported, also command a premium price. A business savvy eco-chic, Yasmeen is a one-woman Lush - what's not to love?

Stephen Gerrard - Bike Powered Water Chlorinator:

Stephen Gerrard (no, not that one) is a recently graduated chemical engineer from Cambridge and was exhibiting a concept-stage chlorinator. By producing enough electricity via pedal-power to pass a current through salt water, the prototype can produce a chlorine solution for use in disinfecting drinking water.

As I say, these are just three of many, many amazing innovations at MFA..

Stay tuned for information on the "Bamboo Bike", which is as it sounds, a bamboo framed bicycle, a "Plastic Bag Press" which makes clothes from a leather-like compound made from old plastic bags and a "Passive Cooling Fridge" which operates without electricity..

Photo credits to James Brown of James-Elliot

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