Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pandanus cable ties and a Mesh Extender tree

We are now in the process of installing Mesh Extenders into Epau, the second of the two villages we are targeting here on the island of Efaté in Vanuatu.  As with Pang Pang, the community have been very gracious and enthusiastic in working with us.

It is always interesting and educational to watch how the folks here go about installing Mesh Extenders, in ways that are appropriate for them, rather than what we might naturally think of in an infrastructure-rich first-world context.

This series of images follows the process of installing a Mesh Extender in Epau.  After talking with the community, they decided that this Mesh Extender would be better mounted in a tree next to the house, than on the house itself.

First step: Attach the Mesh Extender to a long bamboo pole, which is a convenient locally available material:

Second step: If you don't have enough cable ties, make a make-shift cable-tie from a dried Pandanus leaf (the same leaves that the Vanuatuans use to weave mats, bags and other useful things):

Here you can see it closer up, with the light-brown Pandanus leave around the lower part of the Mesh Extender:

Third step: Explore the tree to work out how to get the > 6 metre long bamboo pole up there, and firmly attached:

It didn't take very long for said person to disappear even higher up the tree:

Then the pole was passed up, and it wasn't long until the Mesh Extender tree flowered: 

The power lead was fed back down through the tree:

And the Mesh Extender lofted a bit higher, to ensure it was well clear of the foliage (and hopefully will remain so for a few months before needing adjustment, due to tree growth):

The tree itself is not that small, either: The crown would be at least six metres tall, on top of a few metres of relatively bare trunk below:

With about 1.5 metres of clearance, I'd estimate that this Mesh Extender is about 10 metres above the ground:

What I really love about this installation, is that it was made using local skills, local materials and knowledge: I have every confidence that the community can take it down when a cyclone comes, and then put it back up again, and that they won't be stymied by the lack of things that they need to order from somewhere.  

All week my children have been accusing me of making "Dad jokes", so I'll continue in that vein here, by calling this installation a blooming success.

Hopefully in the next few days we will be able to get this community installing and using the app on their phones, and get a few more Mesh Extenders installed around the village.

No comments:

Post a Comment