Mastering the art of setting up fog collectors

Hooray! Today we will finally get our hands dirty and commence with the set-up of our fog collectors! And because during these times the early bird is making the rules we are all gathered together like tin soldiers at the Vocational Center right after breakfast ready to rumble, to measure and to cut the nets into the right sizes. And also we need to pack the cars. With tools, materials and water tanks. Lucky us, our group has become a little bigger over night: 16 people we count today. Who joined? The Tanzanian team of ped World, who usually represent the German ped Worlders while they are in Germany. They usually do on-site inspections and install test-collectors before the actual set-up of the fog-collectors. And now these amazing guys are in for helping us. 


The nets are rolled out in long paths on a large lawn and tightened, measured, trimmed at 10 meters and folded. Work that requires every helping hand. We need four nets for our two double-fog-collectors – quite time consuming. Two seamstresses will be engaged throughout the day with the sewing of the net, while we are going to prepare the constructions for the nets in Endabok.

The nets are made of polyurethane and are manufactured in Chile. The Canadian Professor Robert Schemenauer has already been devoted to the idea of drawing water from fog in the early 90s. Part of his research also dealt with the material of the networks and it took him full ten years later until he had discovered the optimal structure of the membrane. The production of the nets are based on this knowledge.

Fully loaded we’re off to an one hour drive on this rough, potholed road to Endabok. No trace of paved roads. But this doesn’t matter, at least it keeps us awake. On the way we are on a quick pit stop at the Qameyu Secondary School which has been using three double-fog-collectors since two years now. We are curious how the whole thing should look like when it’s done. And whether it really works or not. And indeed, a 1000 l tank is filled to the brim with water! Hooray again!

Finally in Endabok we start to inspect the site, determine the position of the nets and the exact measurements. A few workers from the neighboring village join the team and start digging 1,50m holes with full speed – and all this in maybe an hour?! These rockstars just wow us.

In the following hours we are busy with lifting and carrying small and big rocks, cutting meters and meters of wire ropes and preparing everything for the structure of the nets. Motivation and eagerness draw us to work quite fast. We can end the day with a little bit of sunburn and calloused hands but just in time for the beautiful sunset at 6pm.

The next morning the first structure is being pulled up. The 1,50 m holes have been filled up with rocks in order to weigh down the poles that have been fastened with the help of the wire rope construction.


Tightening the wire ropes, clamps and screws takes a little time and Kaya and Anna well equipped with rattle and power pullers are due to manage the job. 

The entire team has been working with an amazing rapidness, at the end of the fifth day both constructions are up and ready for the nets. We manage to hang three of four nets until the end of the day.

The procedure of putting up the nets feels like something ceremonial. Everyone is involved, holding the large 40 squaremeter net, even the children of the school mingle with us in order to give us a hand. Pulling up the nets is like flying our own little flag. In any case we are coming to business, visually and functionally. If we continue the work in that way, we will have concluded the installation of the fog-collectors in 2,5 days. We don’t know whether this is an all-time record, but it feels great anyways.




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