Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monday, July 21st

It felt good to be back at MobilityCare today. I met up with Daniel early in the morning to catch the daladala. I don’t know what criteria he uses to choose the best bus but at least four or five passed by before he was happy. The two passengers in the front seat got out and Daniel hopped in. I was about to hop in next to him but I guess I was too slow because somebody else slid in before me! So I went behind into the main section of the daladala and found the only remaining seat, which was really just a sliver of space in the last row. I didn’t really mind being squished in the back and the other passengers were very chatty which kept me entertained. The only problem was that I was so packed in there that I couldn’t see out any of the windows. I’ve taken the daladala to MobilityCare so many times that I know where the stop is, but not being able to see made it a little difficult.

I love that workshop. It’s absolutely beautiful and the people that work there are just so genuine and kind. We spent some time catching up (the typical lengthy Tanzanian greetings) and then got right to work. One of the teams from this year’s Wheelchair Design class created this table that can be turned into a backpack. They thought it would be useful for a small business, but it seems perfect for a student who needs to carry around books and pencils, but also needs a flat desk for writing. Seems like the students at UDSM would be the perfect candidates to test this out when it’s finished.

One of the team members sent some photographs of their prototype (thank you April!) and Daniel and I were busy trying to reverse engineer it all together. The prototype small business wheelchair I made last summer was still in the workshop so I hacked a few pieces off that were no longer necessary and we used it as our base for sizing the backpack-table.

Daniel taught me how to use the bender (which he made himself) to bend the tubes that will support the table. He made it look easy with his giant biceps but it was a little bit harder for me!

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