Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wanted: two borehole wells !

I know we’ve been derelict on posting stuff for all you folks. Things get awful busy here, and we’ve had more problems with stomach upsets and other illnesses than on any previous trip. But nonetheless we’ve succeeded in installing two complete solar panel arrays and 6,000 liters of storage tanks. We’ve also had meetings and discussions with lots of people about possible future projects as the current work is getting a lot of attention.

Our current project will get water into portions of the neighboring chiefdom of Balatsit, which is very comparable to Bakang in many respects: very high plateau with many households having no potable water. Yesterday we were shown a spring (see above) that runs year round from a cleft high on the hillside between Balatsit and Bakang. This would be a nice source of water into a distribution system if adequately protected. We took a sample and we’re running a fecal coliform analysis to see if there’s bacterial contamination, which is quite probable with the presence surroundings. Someday maybe we can put in a protected storage facility, and perhaps a solar-powered pump to feed this general area with potable water.

We’ve also worked with the local chiefs and water committees to plan out the water distribution system and tapstands. We’ll work with them next trip to get everything installed. The water storage tank needs to be planned out in more detail, and we went over some plans that the Mayor had for a different site to see the general layout that they’re used to.

ok, so you’re wondering about the WELLS that we have been waiting on. That’s our current bottleneck and there’s no good news. The company hasn’t even finished the first of the two wells – now due to a mechanical breakdown – so they’re two weeks late. Our flight leaves tomorrow, so we cannot stay to connect everything. We’ve asked for some cost reductions in view of this, and we are paying for Sarah’s flight to be rescheduled to stay an extra 10 days. She’ll work with Nura, Guy, and the local folks as our “skeleton team” to get both systems up and working before she comes back on the 30th. This is not the best situation, but it does insure that we don’t leave an unfinished project behind us. It occurs to me that it also shows what local support we’ve built up around this effort over that past years.

We'll post again from Yaounde. Gotta go.
Dr. Steve

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