Hello again everyone,
As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to update you all on the exciting progress made by our team over the past four weeks here in Lesotho.
I have been back in Maseru since early November, focused on turning the new building shell (which you saw last time) into a proper workshop. Makoanane, Lehlanya, and I spent the first two weeks getting things ready: drawing up a layout, running electricity to new outlets and lights, insulating the walls (using our new foam machine, which finally arrived and works like a charm!), installing drywall, and putting down rubber flooring to minimize dust and make it more comfortable to be on your feet in front of the machines. Finally, last Thursday was the moment of truth when the forklift arrived to move in the machines.
In one long day, we moved about 8 tons of machinery! Among other things, this included our standard milling machine (1.5 tons), the new computerized milling machine (2 tons), new bandsaws (0.5 tons), and the lathe belonging to our partners that we have upgraded over the past six months (2.5 tons). We still have some minor wiring to complete before we are ready for business, but our team is extremely pleased with how the new space is shaping up. I am attaching some photos to give you a virtual tour, but if you find yourself in Lesotho, I would be happy to give you the more exciting in-person tour as well!
Looking forward, we are already putting together the schedule for a training using this workshop during February - our partners at the National University are particularly keen to attend as we will be focusing on use of these new tools for manufacture of solar sensors during this session. The spring will also bring validation of our new trough design, shipment of the new system to Europe, and field testing of a new solar sensor design. We are excited to be working toward these goals, but looking back, also very thankful for how far we have come this year to make this possible.
As each of you reflects on the last twelve months and what you have accomplished, I would like to remind you to add "helped build a new machine shop in Africa" to your list! This is a major step forward for our team, for our partners, and for Lesotho, and we couldn't have done it without you. For those of you wondering how you can stay involved, we are continuing to make upgrades to the workshop and expanding our training efforts (through ongoing donations to this project on Global Giving), putting together our proposal for an online solar energy education portal (will have many opportunities for volunteer or financial support), and expanding our Board of Directors (actively looking for interested advisors and directors)! As always, please feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have any ideas, comments, or questions: email@example.com.
Many happy wishes to each of you for the new year,
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