How-to: Rebuild an Alternator in Africa

Bernard took me to see Stephan, an auto mechanic who is a master of fixing things with very few tools or supplies. Stephan is truly amazing, an example of an African who uses his ingenuity to solve problems that would seem insurmountable to others.

One of the things Stephan has done, is figured out a way to rebuild alternators with limited materials. Below are some pictures and a video that discuss how he does it. Supplies needed:

Rebuilt Alternator   newish alternator

  • 17 gauge copper wire
  • plastic sheet
  • bamboo
  • broken alternator

Here’s the video showing how it’s done:

Hippo Rollers!

I stumbled upon the site of this rather oddly named device and immediately thought of Afrigadget. The Hippo Roller in ActionThis is a really clever solution to a very common problem. These “Hippo Rollers” would be perfect in Botswana’s rural villages where there is normally a centrally located water supply and the soft Kalahari sand would provide no navigational obstacles. Currently residents make the daily trip to fill a container with water and then carry the heavy load back. (Normally it is woman doing this task I might add). I have seen wheel barrows being used for this purpose but the deep sand makes it rather difficult. Of course the real solution is to provide running water to each home. I am sure I dont know all the facts but it seems to me that this should be possible in Botswana as the population is relatively small (1.8 million) and the Government of Botswana has plenty of cash.

Karts for Rural Africa

African KART ProjectPractical Action is a group that endevors to help solve problems in developing nations from the perspective of those in poor or rural areas. One of their projects is to help solve transportation needs.

The programme employs the following to improve transport:

  • Introduction and improvement of affordable means of transport such as bicycles, trailers, animal carts, pack animal and push carts
  • Development of local level transport services
  • Improvement of transport infrastructure such as foot paths and tracks as well as roads
  • Non-transport interventions to bring facilities closer to people e. water wells and grinding mills.

The karts shown here were designed to carry 180 liters of water. The owners make money by either hauling goods, or by leasing out the kart to others.

Podcast via FM Radio

(via Timbuktu Chronicles and KenyanPundit)

Broadcast Your Podcast (BYP) could allow Africans the ability to broacast their messages on a local FM channel. This technology allows podcasters the ability to reach the millions of listeners that don’t have access to the web. The BYP can broadcast up to 100 meters, is made to be rugged and portable, and takes easy-to-find 9 volt batteries.

Inside a BYP
Broadcast your podcast on FM radio

Want to make your own? See Adam Hyde’s tutorial.