Sunday, October 17, 2004

And Now For Something Completely Different

I got an e-mail forwarded from my sister-in-law this morning that has a fascinating bit of information on it, which you (yes, you) could help make reality. The person who sent the original e-mail is my sister-in-law's sister. Here's the scoop:

From: Laureen Reagan
Subject: Please vote for my idea...

Hey, I need your help. I have entered an idea contest. Please help me by voting on-line for my idea and passing this along to family and friends who you think would also like to help.

ABOUT MY IDEA: I have an idea! Well ever since I returned from Tanzania I have had this idea but work, and time and money never allowed me to do anything with it. Some of you may already know that in 1999-2000 I was working on research on a group of villages in central Tanzania that had an unusual increase in the rate of Tuberculosis (TB) in humans. I discovered not only TB but also Brucellosis in the local cattle and determined that it was being transmitted through the milk. In the end I suggested that they boil the milk, but I knew this was not possible. They lived in a dry arid land where firewood was sparse and it would always be more important to cook ones meat than to cook ones milk. Just before I left I found a solution in an experimental digester that had been built at one household in the village. They dumped cow manure and water down a cement lined hole in the ground, it settled to the bottom 'digested' then methane gas came up through the pipes to a cooking element. It was so simple yet ingenious. use the cows waste to clean the milk the cow produced and no more cost to the cow owner than the energy it took to throw the manure down the hole! They had been using it for almost one year without difficulty and the lady of the house even cooked some Maandazi on it and fed me some. I asked why everyone one with cattle did not have one of these systems. The answer was $150 is more than what any of them would make in a year. It seemed so impossible to them, but very possible for people like us who spend $150 a week and don't have to worry about boiling our milk. Sadly ever since I returned from Tanzania I have been caught up in making my $150 + per week and paying my bills, but have always wanted to finish what I started years ago. When I heard of this idea contest I knew exactly what I needed to do.

HOW TO VOTE FOR MY IDEA: Go to Then search for my idea by using the search menu and entering the word "Manure" mine should be the only one that pops up. It is titled "Manure Cleans Milk in Africa". Read my idea and click on "I'm feelin' it" which hopefully you are. This will submit your vote of approval, the more votes I get the more likely my idea will end up in the top ten (out of almost 6000, so it's tough), and the more likely it will be seen and voted on by others and remain seen. If the judges vote it as the top ten in it's category (Community) then I will be asking you all to vote again starting Nov 11. But for now, please help my idea be seen by voting for it. Pass this along to friends and family who you think would like to support this idea.

Asante Sana (Thanks much),

I'm all for helping people in small ways that can improve life vastly with a relatively small initial investment. This will help people and save lives, if Laureen can get enough support to make it happen. All you have to do is show that you approve of the idea. In addition to the search method shown above, you can go directly to Laureen's idea by clicking here or on the image above.

And I'll also welcome comments on the idea and on me posting it here. Let me know what you think, too.