Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday February 2nd (Dr. Steve again)

Everybody wanted to see the Scanwater fiasco so here we are (except Dr. Steve) at that site, not far from Bakang. Andrew, Steve, Tyler, Taylor, Nura, and Alyssa admiring the view from up on the (empty!) water storage tank. This is the facility put in by a Scandinavian outfit in the late 80's with no community involvement and using expensive fuel to run water pumps. The people stopped using it very soon after Scanwater presented it to them. We expect to do better, needless to say. We met with the village's Water Committee and talked about what we're doing next. We want to help make the water filters more affordable for them ($10 is way too much it turns out) so we may invite families in Delaware to sponsor families in Bakang - paying a goof fraction (but not all) of the filter cost. This is under discussion.

Here's Alyssa going native. This was during one of our survey hikes.

We also brought in a hydrogeologist from Yaoundé who used Tony's map and dc conductivity to test two distant sites proposed by the chief for new wells. These will be in sites with very little water currently available, near other village areas so the water could be shared. Great job by Tony - both sites have water pretty much deeper than at our existing well (60-70m) . . . but he thinks the capacity could be four times as much (5 cubic meters per hour if you can imagine that).

Good news that we seem to have succeeded with our filter mold. The first one had to be broken apart because the interior mold section could not be removed, but we now know that a shorter drying time is essential. We'll have more pictures on our next post. A shout-out to Murphy's Steel for donating the materials and doing the heavy bending for the filter mold!

Today was market day. We bought some stuff to silent auction at our upcoming banquet. This is rather unlike any farmer's market in the U.S. so we'll post some pix, asap.

Finally, a story. I was with our hydrogeologist on his second day - the original well site had good production possibilities but was on a hill where the drilling truck might not be able to reach. So he walked up the road a ways then down a wide, hard-packed dirt path where he pointed to a spot and said it would be ideal. I looked around and saw that this was smack in the middle of a family "concession" or compound. Nobody was ho,e though I did note a hand-dug well nearby. The bucket rope was very muddy and looking down into the well I saw that it was pretty dry.

But I was getting pretty nervous. Imagine coming into your driveway in the aftrnoon and some strangers are poking around, taking measurements to put a community well in your backyard! And sure enough, here came an older woman with a basket on her head, down the path. She looked at me and all the activity and asked something in the local dialect - I said "peut-être nous pouvons avoir un forage ici" and the hydrologist said a few other words about putting a well there.

She smiled. She exclaimed something. Then she started singing and dancing. She danced with me, and with the hydrogeologist. And she danced for a long time.

I have a brief video of her I'll try to upload (although it failed yesterday). In any case, the experience made my day - and, of course, hers.


Olivia M. said...

Waow. This story really brought a smile to my face. It's wonderful to see the joy you are bringing to the villagers with your work. I'm so glad!

rustedthrough said...

Great to see some useful work being done. Water quality seems to be overlooked too often. I will be in Mozambique working on dairy and crops development shortly and would love more information on your filters. Thanks for doing what you do.

Anonymous said...

If you would like more information on the slow sand filters or the solar water pumping system, you can email us at