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Kiln Arrives!

Pak Hari and Pak Pri with the new kiln!

Our kiln has arrived, and it is a beauty. The arrival of the kiln will enable prototypes, experiments and production water filters to be made on site. It is a great learning tool as well. SHEEP staff will be able to experiment with the kiln and gain a much better understanding of their raw materials and firing cycles. The first two plans that we have for the kiln are an experiment to understand our raw materials, and the first prototype.

Building equipment has been a major part of my time here. I have purchased a welder and basic metal fabrication tools, and have been using them to make ceramic processing equipment. So far we have made a mixer for combining raw materials and ball mill for super-fine grinding of the ceramics. Each of these tools has taken weeks of time to design, build, and refine to working. It is amazing how much easier it is to buy a piece of equipment that will work out of the box. To buy each piece of equipment new would cost about the same as our entire operating budget for the year, so we are building them. These machines also have the benefit of exactly fitting our needs here, which is a big plus. The machine building stage is drawing to a close, and except for some small adjustments the machines are operational. Now is time to dive into ceramic and microbiology experiments.

Hari and our scrap supplier with his roof tile factory in the background.

Obtaining raw materials has been challenging. Gaining the knowledge necessary to find and obtain appropriate raw materials has been a new learning experience for both myself and SHEEP. Fortunately we have been able to secure supply from a group of local roof tile manufacturers. We will be recycling broken roof tiles as the major component of the filters. In Indonesia, the roof tile industry is not yet controlled by big companies, instead there are small family-owned factories, with around 5 employees each, and the factories collaborate on raw materials and expensive equipment. They will be an excellent local, conscionable, supplier. We are looking forward to working with, and learning from them.

I’m loving the language, and really enjoying getting to know those that live near me. In Yogyakarta there are these excellent eateries called angkringan. It is basically a cart and benches, and can be set up anywhere. They serve the most delicious fried foods, including chicken intestines (sate usus), chicken feet(cakar), fried tofu, fried tempeh, and fried bananas. Angkringan are the best way to meet people, are affordable (usually 75¢ for a meal) and the people are so friendly. I am feeling very settled-in both in the work and life here. I am certainly missing the beauty of the seasons, but I am loving the sun, and warmth. It has been a slow process to build friends, and gaining the feeling of comfort in this new place, but now I have both. I am loving life in Indonesia.