Today we checked on the progress of the steam engine coming from India. It has been dispatched on March 18th. This already is quite the delay, for many reasons.
First, my payment was lost between banks because instead of stating the name of the business, I stated the name of my business partner himself. A 24 hour express transaction turned into a week-long whereabout. Then the money reached.
But after the people at TinyTech had a thorough look at the steam engine, they found that it had a defect, and only after some serious reflection, tinkering and fixing it was ready for delivery.
The documents of the shipment reached me yesterday by courier. About a ton of material is to be delivered. Apart from a steam engine, the shipment contains two solar cookers, a biomass boiler that can be fueled by brickettes, wood or agricultural waste, plus a pump, condensator and piping. All in all a great assembly of cool technologies to add to the OpenPower framework.
The shipping officer told us that the shipment just reached Indoore in India. There it is waiting to be accompanied by another 9 tons of stuff until it becomes economical for the freight company to move a truck from there to Nepal. The delivery will take anywhere from 13 to 25 days. I expected a 10 day delivery because I was told no different.
Besides, private people can’t just import things at their discretion, a business with the according licence has to back them. Import tax generally can be as high as 40%, for cars and motocycles it is even 100%. Imports of renewable energy technology such as solar panels are taxed with 1% if the business is officially working in that sector…
As you can see, I’m learning these things the hard way. But people are taking my initiative serious and help me out on my path to decentralize the world economy by enabling the local production of sustainable technologies. Many people and organizations are interested in my project and many opportunities for further collaborations are unfolding.
Last week I helped my brother implementing an international standard wiring system at Maya School. Prior to that we scouted for various electricity gauges, and now the students and volunteers can check how much electricity is used on campus, how much the PV panels produce, and how much charge there is in the batteries.
Next week we will move ahead constructing the base frame of the concentrator, the first parts are already welded. Even if the steam engine doesn’t reach in time, we can demonstrate some high temperatures, a lot of steam and applications such as ovens for roasting, baking, charring, etc.
My thanks to all the people part of this project, especially Muni Raj of PicoHydro Nepal, Niraj Shreesta of Sun Works Nepal, Goverdhan Rana of the Maya School and my brother Christian Riggenbach who just returned home after a three week project stay.
Please tune in to TED.com this Sunday, March 18 to view Manjil’s TEDx talk live! The lecture is being held at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London at 11am. To view the live stream search TEDx SOAS.
What follows are some of the ideas we brainstormed while putting the talk together. The theme of the symposium is “Knowledge is Power.”
It is paramount that we as a global community break away from the current convention of esoteric, for-profit education and replace today’s conventional system of education with a new model that bases its ethics, values, and methods on an open-source, work-trade idyll.
We must start by manifesting this model in rural communities that are unable to prosper in the current system due to lack of infrastructure, limited economic wealth, and an abysmal education record.
Knowledge may be power, but in today’s world power is manifest through wealth: we must strive to birth a new educational model that delivers communities high quality education free of cost; this idyll system will benefit the overall good of the community rather than bolster individual prosperity apparent in the egregious inheritance and economic power of a limited amount of oligarchic international corporations and global institutions.
Our people in Chisopani have much knowledge about the world. They are able to sustain their selves and families with the knowledge passed down through the generations. They raise animals, farm organically, heal themselves with the local flora, and solve problems communally. Though they have all of this knowledge about life, they are powerless. Most adults in Chisopani do not know how to read or write. Their government school has failed them for generations, and private schools and corporations do not exist in the village because the people here have no money to offer them; however, they possess something greater: love, community, and ingenuity.
Privatized education limits the spread of knowledge by inhibiting the availability of knowledge to the collective – the local community. At Maya Universe Academy we are working to building a system of education that keeps all knowledge open and available for the common good, allowing those peoples who are unable to pay for knowledge a free option for accumulating it. Through this ethic we will build strong and resilient communities.
We must not rely on handouts and donations from external sources. We need each community to be self-sustainable and independent in solving the issues of education in their communities. They need not depend on a centralized government, foreign aid, or market capitalists to provide their children with first class education.
The government is unable to offer the best education for our children. For-profit schools are unwilling to enter rural areas that are poor in dollars but rich with wisdom and love. By injecting our communities with this new idyll of education, we will be able to increase competition among the existing schools and thereby improve the standards and methods of education in areas where this new model is implemented.
With this new model of education, we can establish a new market that accepts the forms of wealth fringe communities have to offer (namely time, hard work, and goods) rather than the conventional form of monetized wealth that is the current platform for trading knowledge.
Rather than making a profit by sharing our accumulated human knowledge, we must aim to disperse this collected knowledge free of cost to all, thereby invigorating communities with the tools, resources, and ability to envision and produce positive change in all corners of the world. Over the last year, we have started to do just that.
As a human ecologist, I think of the world as an open, connected network of individuals capable of sharing, interacting, and learning from one another without the bottom-line restricting their willingness to interact fully and honestly with another. I believe that knowledge is power: it is the power to progress, to transform, to achieve, and to overcome the culture of poverty and its cycle of oppressive indignity.
Please tune in to TED.com this Sunday, March 18 to view Manjil’s TEDx
Source: Maya Universe Blogger Blog
Our friend Urs arrived in Kathmandu last week from Bar Harbor, Maine. Urs
Source: Maya Universe Blogger Blog