On Tuesday November 3 we handed over 26 trolleys bringing the total tally up to 61. This latest version was once again modified according to the feed back that we received from the previously carriages. The biggest improvement was made by changing the BMX wheels to motorbike wheels. Yes, this made the latest trolleys twice as heavy but now enables the porters to load well over 200 kg of sulphur in one journey down from the crater. This simply means that with 1/2 the strain to their bodies one porter can earn up to 50% more money per day.
We now have commissioned 50 more trolleys to be build, which will be handed over on January 5 2016.
50 packets of clothing
Beside the trolleys we distributed 50 more packets of cloth which are always well received. Please do continue to send your no longer needed garments. Especially children clothing and toys are always well received. Not forgetting, pencils, paper and books.
One digital camera for all three schools
On our way to the highland of East Java we visit our three schools that we support and handed over to the teachers a simply digital camera. Nothing fancy, but a straight forward camera that assists greatly in the day to day teaching. A camera like this is for most Westerners something you simply have and frequently change and upgrade. I was personally touched and surprised how grateful the teachers where for this little gadget.
At present a bamboo stick connects two baskets that are filled with 60-90 kg of sulphur. The porters then carry this horribly heavy load 185 extremely steep meters to the rim of the volcano and then 3.8 km down to the collection point. The entire journey for one load takes about 5 hours for which he receives less then US$6.00
The birth of an idea
After many visits to east Java over the previous 4 years our caring project gradually spread its roots across the globe, and with it we started to get gracious support from many great people that are willing to help the needy.
Even the Swiss Government contacted me and congratulated our team for their efforts to help this brutally hard working mining community. Generously they offered between US$6000-US$8000 and ask me to make a proposal how I would spend this money. Almost instantly I replayed to the Ambassador of Switzerland here in Indonesia that at this stage I would not so much be interested in their money but more so in their connections back in Switzerland. Together with my replay I drafted the following note with the hope that we would be able to find some help in Swiss Universities.
To my greatest surprise within less then 1 month I was contacted by not one but four universities showing interest in our project.
Three weeks later I flew back to Switzerland and visited the Fach Hochschule Luzern, Technik & Architektur and brought with me a Bamboo pole that holds the two baskets. Two weeks later Mr. Marco de Angelis, Professor for Product Development visit us here on Bali and joined us on our regular journey to Kawah Ijen.
Thomas Studer a design engineer student contacted me and confirmed his arrival dates. He brought with him a first trial trolley. Rather sceptical we presented this first prototype to the porters and had small hope that the reception would be so overwhelming. As with any prototype areas of changes where noted and then made instantly to the trolley here on Bali.
Late October 2014
We brought the modified trolley back and gave it to the porters with the hope that they would us it in their daily struggle for survival.
We build the first prototype trolley here on Bali following the design from Thomas Studer including locally available aluminium and parts.
We handed over the locally build trolley to the porters to be tested and used daily.
After two months of serious usage both trolleys are still in perfect working order. We obviously identified areas that need adjustments and modification in the construction, changes that will be included in the next trolleys builed.
Currently we have one more trolley that is being build including the latest changes. Two more prototypes are being build in Switzerland which we will be delivered in May.
March 2015 – Conclusion
With the progress that we have made and the feed back that we have received and seen I am extremely optimistic that by August 2015 we will commission 200 trolleys to be build which will then gradually handed over to the porters by the end of 2015.
This will mean that the porters then have to pair up and work as a team. That way the porters can increase their daily productivity by about 50%, and with it earn a little more, and at the same time reduce the stress level on their bodies by properly 75%
Obviously the entire project will absorb a substantial amount of money. About ½ of which we have already secured which is good to know. No need to say that we would be delighted to receive more support from anyone around the globe
Cost for 1 trolley: Rp.2’200’000 / +-US$200
Total cost for 200 trolleys Rp.440’000’000 / +-US$40’000