Design Woes

As many of you know, working on a design project is always more complex than the technical design involved. There so many human factors which influence the use and perception of a device. This is especially true when working on a water quality design project. So many people have grown up drinking what the WHO considers highly contaminated water. Daniel, my roommate, told me a story about this. When babies are born in his village, they are immediately washed with river water. This rinse water is collected and poured through some thatched roofing-type material and collected again. It is then given to the baby to drink as their first taste of water. Their bodies grow used to the microorganisms and other contaminants from day 1. Many Ghanaians are very proud of this tolerance. So, why would they want to spend a little extra time and resources to disinfect their water with chlorine? I’m not being sarcastic.  If I had been raised in one of these villages, I would think the same way.


A very provoking and interesting lecture on Ghanain culture by a local professor

In general, all of the teams are having trouble moving from the idea generation to conception selection and model building phases of design. There are so many issues swarming around our thoughts, and it seems that they all cannot be accounted for in any single, elegant design. Amy gave us an awesome pep talk yesterday morning which made us all feel like we are in this same boat, together. She is awesome!!

Last night we had a little pool party which was great fun. Later today I leave for my second village visit (Offuman) to try to start the process of co-creation. We would really like to play around with some concept models of possible designs of the chlorine production device with people who would be using it to get their input and innovative thoughts on how to make it perfect for them. This is the spirit of IDDS. Yeh!

The IDDS familyhas  gone way out of their way to make me feel special on my birthday.  While I really don’t enjoy celebrating my birthdays, it always does feel nice after the fact.  Each person here expresses celebration in their own way; it is so interesting and so much fun!  I can’t wait to celebrate their special days with them.

Have a wonderful Sunday!


One response to “Design Woes

  1. Great posts Eric! Keep them coming!

    Of course I have a few questions:
    1) How bad is the water?
    2) Since people do not see a reason to chlorinate their water – why do they need to?
    3) Are people getting sick? How Often?
    4) Do any villagers see water as a problem?
    5)What is IDDS relation to the people? Are they highly trusted?
    6) Are people just indifferent or is it more of a independent – ‘don’t tell me what to do’ attitude?

    Feel free to completely ignore me if you are busy and just update with what you want. Just searching for first hand knowledge as usual. Keep up the great work!

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