Bringing smiles to the slums – Jua kali dentistry in Kenya

I got this photograph from someone who had his teeth repaired in Gikomba – the center of Kenya’s Juakali innovation, and another one of Kenya’s slums . The home made gadget looks pretty terrifying but check out the results!

Looks barbaric but check out the results!

Made from brass and modelled on something much more professional, this manual tooth mould (I’m sure there’s a technical name for this gadget) is cheap and brings smiles back to faces.

Recycling – tyres, motorbike wheels and water pumps

What do you get if you cross tractor tyres, motorbike wheels and a water pump? Well, in Africa you could get anything! Here’s an odd combination of things related to water – recycled tractor tyres cut to make water troughs

This contribution is thanks to Bankelele (the very cool Kenyan blogger) who responded to a recent post on tractor tyres with the comment “I found a similar one last week and e-mailed it to hash, but perhaps the pics should be added to this post as its the same use of tractor tyre for livestock water”. He spotted it in Feb 2010 during funeral at a homestead in kapsowar, Kenya (note to Banks – Thanks for this, and next time send me low res pics dude!)

water pump engine used for a grinder
well it works doesn't it?

Here’s another water related gadget – a water pump turned into a grinder – and why not? This was spotted and photographed in Gikomba in Nairobi Kenya by Dominic Wanjihia.

wheel barrow

A modified wheel barrow that makes so much more sense – motorbike tyres and check out the puncture proofing on the wheel below

Puncture proof!

This was spotted on the Limuru  road works near Nairobi Kenya. Have you seen anything interesting that you’d like to contribute to Afrigadget? Don’t be shy! Send it to us – we’d love to get contributions from across the continent.

Paraffin Lamps and the Informal Recycling Industry

Franco Mithika works in Gikomba, an industrial area in greater Nairobi. His job is to take scrap metal tin cans and a soldering iron to fabricate paraffin lamps. Paraffin lamps are used by millions of Kenyans, especially those who cannot afford or get electricity into their home for lighting.

Creating Paraffin Lamps in Gikomba

It costs about 110/= Kenyan shillings to make, and it sells for around 150/= ($1.90). You can buy them wholesale for 1550/= ($20) for 24 pieces. It takes about a minute to make one (less for the truly gifted fabricators).

Here is a video of him making one:

Thinking about the unofficial recycling industry

What’s particularly interesting here, is that this scrapes the surface of a rather larger recycling industry that hums beneath the surface of the city. How it works is this. The youngest and poorest go around the city and collect scrap metal of all types. These are then taken to a buyer who sorts them into their different types. This is who people like Franco then buy from and create their wares.

The scrap metal picked up gets sold for just a few shillings per kilo. When sorted, the tin cans that Franco buys, are sold for 300/= ($4) per kilo.

So, there’s a rather efficient system at work. It’s run by entrepreneurs who figure out a way to make things work. A byproduct is that everything (metal) is used, and much less waste than there would be otherwise.

Gathering and transporting the scraps:
Informal Recycling Industry

The scrap sorting place (Kawangware):
Informal Recycling Industry

The cans for the paraffin lamps sorted:
Creating Paraffin Lamps in Gikomba

Other “sorted” scrap metal items:
Informal Recycling Industry