All posts by sroley

Rachel and Raspberry Pi

During week 5, we spent our time with the extended family of our in country contact Emmanuel Opuni at their family compound in Babianeha.

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While staying with the family, the plan was to have two women’s health clinics, one in the local school, and the other at a government women’s health building along the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire border, to have an engineering workshop at the local school, and to set up and teach community members how to use the Rachel Pi and Raspberry Pi’s in the community center that was built by a previous Pavlis team a few years ago.

The focus of this blog post is on the Raspberry Pi’s. The project involved using the Rachel Pi as an offline repository of teaching videos, books, articles, and life skills exercises for the school kids and the community to use. The Raspberry Pi’s were to be used as a means to access the Rachel Pi, and also supplement the netbooks that are already within the community center while allowing two more students to have a workstation they can use during ICT class.

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Due to the nature of the Raspberry PI project (project lead – Daniel), the ‘measure of success’ is mainly if the items work during setup, because it is up to the teachers how and when they integrate this tool into their teaching arsenal. It is our hope that the students can use the modules like Khan Academy Lite to reinforce things they learn in class like algebra and biology with informational videos and the little quizzes it provides.


Project Success and Kumasi

This week, we returned to Ridge Experimental School, the Sunyani Regional Hospital, and spent the weekend in Kumasi.

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At the Ridge Experimental School, we introduced engineering to a different group of students. The students had the same reaction as the first group; very excited, creative, and had a ton of fun. We did the same activity as last time. We separated the students into groups and gave them straws, tape, and scissors to build any type of bridge they wanted. We are very proud to have such an amazing response from the students!

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At the Sunyani Regional Hospital, we returned to check up on the beds in ICU and looked into a broken ultrasound machine. We ended up finding out that one of the capacitors on the power supply had blown. We unsoldered the broken component and are looking to replace it to get the ultrasound back up and running!

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Our trip to Kumasi was very successful. We were able to meet with our women’s health project contact to set up a women’s health workshop and we met with the engineers at KNUST working in collaboration with the IGS Enterprise at Michigan Tech on the ventilator. We also did a lot of souvenir shopping, went to a Ghanaian club and sung “Opps I Did It Again” for karaoke night, ate at KFC (yes, Kumasi has a Kentucky Fried Chicken!), went to the new City Mall that opened in January, went to the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site Museum, and toured the Palace Museum were the King of the Asante Region lives!! The museums helped us learn a lot about the history of Ghana and we cannot wait to learn more! Upon our return to Sunyani, we had the opportunity to go to church with our in country advisor Emmanuel!

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Kids, Crocodiles, and the Hospital!

No one was harmed in the content of this blog post. Here is team Ghana and these are their stories:(Insert Law & Order Special Effects)

Although week two started off with an unexpected Ghanaian holiday, (Republic Day was July 1st but Monday was the observed holiday) we have accomplished a lot. We started two of our projects which include introducing engineering to the students at Ridge Experimental School and working with Sunyani Regional Hospital to identify issues and take inventory of the medical devices that were not working properly.

Engineering Education

The goal of Engineering Education is to spark an engineering interest in the minds of Ghanaian students. Our first experience with this project, was working with the students at Ridge Experimental School. We started the class off with an ice breaker to loosen the students up by throwing around a balloon with questions on it. When they caught the balloon, they had to say their name and answer the question that their thumb landed on. The student smiled and laughed as we did this. We then asked the students engaging questions such as: Do you know what engineering is? Does anyone know an engineer? What do you know of that has been engineered? We gave them a simple definition of engineering: Working together to create/develop and improve ANYTHING! The activity we gave to the students was to build a bridge. We organized them into groups (6 groups of 10 students – yes, these classes are big) and gave each team straws, tape, and scissors. Now keep in mind that typical classes here are taught only through lectures, so this concept is new to them. Most students started grabbing at the materials right away, but we still showed them an example bridge to get them started. The students discussed designs with each other, worked together in determining who was going to build which part of the bridge, and then collaborated when they placed the pieces together – or they all worked on the bridge as one piece together. We were thrilled to see how well this was going – meaning that the students were having fun and being creative! It took all of the teams about 30-40 minutes to finish their bridges and when they were done, we introduced the design, build, and test procedure to them. We explained how they already designed and built the bridge, now they had to test it. We did this by calling each team up one-by-one to test to see if their bridge could hold weight. The students jumped around and cheered if the bridge held up or not – the amount of support between the students was amazing. We ended the class by telling the students that they can do anything if they put their minds to! We are very excited to work with many more classes and different schools!

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Medical Technological Servicing

The goal of Medical Technological Servicing is to assist the engineers at Sunyani Regional Hospital by looking at the medical equipment that has not been working properly, downloading manuals of the equipments, and taking an inventory of parts they might not be able to get in Ghana. Our first task was to look at two x-ray machines in the radiology department that were not functioning properly. The first x-ray machine had a table that the locking mechanism did not engage properly. The second x-ray machine was an orthodontic x-ray machine that had its control remote dropped so many times that it was beyond repair. The next department we visited was the Laboratory in which a chemical micro-analyzer was not working. After going through the manual and looking at every inch of the machine, we cleared a communication error with the computer! After the machine was able to communicate with the computer, another error popped up that was a sensor error reading that the water tank was empty when it was not. We went back later this week and visited the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to try and diagnose the problems with a few of the beds there as they were not able to move up and down. After careful triage, we realized that one of the control arms was not attached to the motor underneath so we reconnected it and it worked perfectly! In addition, the ICU staff described that the beds did not work unless they were plugged into a wall. We were able to go into the battery and see that they were not connected properly. At the end of the day, we were able to fix both beds and the battery problem!! We can’t wait to continue our journey with the hospital!

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African Safari

After a successful first week, we went to Mole National Park to go on a African Safari and we visited Paga to tour the Chief’s Crocodile Pond! On the safari we got to see elephants, antelope, guinea fowl, a monitor lizard, kob (deer like), and monkeys! We got to get out of the vehicle to take pictures in front of the elephants! We spent the night at a hostel about 45 minutes south of Paga to refresh before seeing the crocodiles. At the crocodile pond, we got to take pictures sitting on the crocodile and holding the crocodile’s tail – the crocodile was cold, slimy, and hard! Bonus: we also got to tour the chief’s house as well as his compound. There we were able to climb on top of their roofs, dance with some children, and buy some souvenirs! Also on the way back to Sunyani, we briefly stopped at Pikworo Slave Camp where slaves were held until their final destination of Cape Coast.

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Projects, Contacts, and a Goat!

We arrived in Sunyani on June 27th where we will be living for the next five weeks to work on a variety of projects that include women’s health education, medical technological servicing, engineering classes/activities, computer literacy, and an IGS Ventilator. 

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Here the girls are standing in Cote d’Ivoire and the boys are standing in Ghana. The picture was taken in a village which is on the border of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The rock structure represents the two countries coming together.

Women’s Health Education: 

Team Lead: Amanda Moya

As in previous years, a project involving proper feminine hygiene education as a means of eliminating one obstacle every woman faces will be implemented in a variety of locations . Research shows that 60% of women in Africa have missed some amount of education because of their lack of methods to deal with their monthly cycle. We plan to offer workshops to educate the girls in the schools on creating their own sustainable, reusable products and educating them on the benefits, risks, and proper use of said products. We hope be able to host 5 workshops in a variety of villages to reach over 200 girls. 

Medical Technological Servicing:

Team Lead: Joshua Geschke

Medical device graveyards have been increasing in prevalence all over Africa being that medical devices get donated and there is not an effective means to service them. By identifying and taking an inventory of these devices, we hope to locate parts and give service manuals to the technicians that try to fix these devices so that they may be used once again. 

Engineering Education:

Team Lead: Summer Oley

As has been done in the past, we will be going to local schools with the intention to provide basic and interesting engineering lessons, hands-on activities, and discussions to spark an interest in the engineering fields. The activities will require the students to be creative and to work on a team as they build rollercoasters and catapults with straws, tape, rubber bands, and ping-pong balls.

Computer Literacy:

Team Lead: Daniel Knenlein

The main focus for the time in country will be spent implementing a Rachel Pi and two Raspberry Pi’s, as well as assessing the computer needs of schools in the area for future teams.  It is known that more efficient and well equipped computer labs are desired, so we will be looking at how future teams can provide this to the schools.  In addition to that, computer lessons will be given to teachers and students to provide them with basic computer skills so that they know how to better use their technology. Through the continuation of this project, it is hoped that the addition of computer technology and greater knowledge will provide a better education to the students in these schools to increase their likelihood to attend higher education.

 IGS Ventilator:

Team Lead: Joshua Geschke

The Innovative Global Solutions (IGS) Enterprise has been in partnership with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi with their Ventilator Project. We are going to meet the current team that is working with the IGS Ventilator as well as do an environmental analysis. We hope to continue this ongoing partnership between Michigan Tech and KNUST which allows for engineering students at both universities to globally collaborate.

We are very excited to actively begin our projects on Tuesday, July 4th. The first week spent in Sunyani was dedicated to meeting the necessary contacts for our projects, learning how to get around Ghana either by walking or taking a taxi or tro tro (think passenger van that seats 18, WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE), and researching/planning for our projects. Our country advisor, Andrew Storer, was present for the first few days to help us with the above, but we’ve officially been on our own for a couple days now! The team had originally planned to start implementing projects today on July 3rd, but were informed of a national holiday we were unaware of which has caused a day delay. 

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Summer, Amanda, Dan and Andrew in our first tro-tro ride of the trip!

A Goat and an Obruni: 

We would like to share a moment that we will never forget with you. On Thursday, June 29th, we took a 2 hour tro tro ride to Babienha, a village on the boarder of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. As we were climbing into the tro tro, Amanda realized there was some kind of head underneath her seat. Once she got in, she noticed that it was a goat! Whenever we would rapidly slow down, the goat would slam into her legs and if the goat was feeling curious he’d pop his head up and scratch her inner thighs. At one point, the goat actually fell out the back (the back was only partially secured with rope tied to the side windows and the rear wipers) and was running along screaming behind us until the tro tro driver stopped to retrieve him! He was then hog tied and brought up to the front of the tro tro to be sure of his safety. This experience showed us just how unpredictable and full of surprises public transportation can be here! 

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The goat under Amanda.

Until next time the team will keep being amazed by everything around us!

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