Week 1: Getting settled in. We took a look around the lab to see our new working environment and the existing aquaponics systems.
Week 2: By week two we were able to have acclimatized to our new surroundings and settled in. Each day we were required to dedicate a couple of hours to the maintenance of the aquaponic systems. Thi included tasks such as cleaning filters and recording the pH of the water in each system at this can severely effect how well the crops grow.
Week 3: During the third week we were given the task of renovating a rice husk solar sanitiser. A system which the Edinburgh team the previous year had constructed during their time in Cambodia. This included taking the system apart, sanding the outer shell of the system, constructing new parts and repainting the tubes within the system.
Week 4: Week 4 saw the visit of Project Everest, a team of students from Australia researching efficient farming methods. This required us to provide a presentation to these students to show the team some of the work we had been doing so far at the labs out in Cambodia. We were also able to listen to some of their stories and learn some things for our projects back in Edinburgh.
Week 5: At this stage we wee finally able to build our own aquaponics system with the help from some of the long term volunteers at Community First.
Building the system allowed us to investigate how each part of the system worked and taught us some interesting things that we will be able to test out on our systems in the labs at Edinburgh. The volunteers at Community First were also able to provide us with some useful recommendations on the different pumps and filters they have found to be useful in their systems in Cambodia. To see the timelapse of the process follow the link to the Community First facebook page https://www.facebook.com/communityfirstinitiatives/
Week 6: Having completed the aquaponic system, myself and mechanical engineer from the University of Edinburgh were given the task of designing a drainage system for the farm school in the Sen Sok Commune. This required us to perfom many mathematical calculations to determine the flowrates of the water and the width of the drainage pipes required based on the average rainfall per year in Cambodia
End of week 6: Time to thank Community First for an amazing opportunity and say our goodbyes.