In the past few months, we've been working on getting a grinding mill building built and a grinding mill installed for this community. A college group had donated some money for the Ik and the community requested it be used for one of two things: either a grinding mill or a maternity ward. We chose the first. The man in the picture below is named Isa and came all the way from Kampala to build for us. He stayed with us for two weeks and worked on several projects. He did a splendid job on the building and we were able to install the mill a couple of weeks later.
The way a grinding mill works is this: they put dried corn into an open end (where the two men are standing), it goes through a grinder, and it comes out as flour from the green funnel-looking thing. I'm a bit simple-minded when it comes to these type of machines, but that's the way I understand the process.
This is actually a tractor engine that is used in grinding machines. It's hooked up to the grinder via belts.
We actually had to bolt the machine to the cement floor because the machine shakes so badly when it's running.
The flour comes out this end into a waiting bag. Everyone near-by gets dusted.
This is how the corn looks before grinding. The people pick it fresh during the harvest and hang it up in their houses to dry before grinding it.
The grinding mill officially opened it's doors last week. People couldn't wait to try it out. We put the operation of the mill in the hands of the community. They established a committee who chose a manager to take care of the money and employees and they also chose two men to do the grinding. These men feed the corn into the open end and the recipient of the flour waits on the other end with a bag.
Now for the sad news...after only one day, the mill stopped working. We could easily call someone to come up and help us fix the problem but we would really like the community to take ownership of the mill and get it fixed themselves. Please pray with us that they are motivated to do so and will have the machine running again in no time. Having a mill in our area will free up the women from having to grind corn by hand. The flour produced is a staple of their diet; they make it into a porridge and a dish like cornmeal mush.