Sunday, June 27, 2010

We are safely back in the US. The flight arrived at JFK yesterday around 5 pm, and luckily our luggage made it back with us! Here is the translated version of the Water Committee speech...

Committee for the Management of Potable Water of Bakang
tel: 97023526

Mr. Professor, dear brother engineers without borders from the USA, in the name of the committee of the Bakang community, I thank you in advance for all that you have done for us. Our collaboration, our determination and our eagerness to work together, hand in hand, dates back to this time in 2007. The potable water tank, which for us was an unrealistic dream, has become a reality today. Our satisfaction being complete, we say thank you once again and ask you not to abandon us because we have gotten a taste for what you can do, and like the common African proverb says:

"Appetite comes from eating."

Dear brother engineers, with your technical training and advice, your presence will always be indispensable around us. We promise you that we will make good use of the wells and tank that you have installed, and assure you of their proper maintenance.

We wish you a good trip and return to America, and your return here to Bakang is eagerly awaited for the continuation of this precious project.

Mr. Professor, dear brother engineers without borders from the USA, I thank you.

The president of the management of potable water of Bakang.
tel: 95023526


Friday, June 25, 2010

On our way home (24 hours late!!)

We left our many friends in Bakang, Balatsit, and Bamendjou today. Taylor is staying until early Monday to wrap up some plumbing details, so there were four UD'ers and Guy in a taxi then an intercity bus, then car, getting to the airport. We also stopped at Mayor Mukam's house in Yaoundé to finish up some logistical details.

The Yaoundé airport isn't usually an ordeal like this, but the scheduled 5 am departure (so start check in at 2 am), then a 3-hour flight delay, meant an all-nighter there. The delay meant we missed our connection to New York, so we are laid over in Casablanca for 24 hours.
Casablanca is basically a big city. They put us in a with good accommodations but there's not much too do but wait. I can't post any pictures for you, our beloved fans, because the camera connection stuff is in my suitcase someplace at the airport. We will get more up soon!

The tank is a real milestone. But I will not write what the Water Committee stated in more moving terms. We'll post their good-bye speech as soon as we get it translated.

Dr. Steve

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just us (without Dan)

Sorry, Dan! Here we are, without you, being very happy after seeing the final stages of tank construction. As Amy & Amy described, there's still more to do. But we are so popular here that there are apparently going to be kids named Amy, Taylor, and Steve in the foreseeable future (Taryn is called Amy, too). Those are not really very French or Cameroonian names and will surely be curiosities caused by an EWB project.
The first layer of mortar is on the roof of the tank! The second layer is going on as we speak. The team is leaving for Yaoundé tomorrow morning after a meeting with the water committees. Still to do, finish the control box, set up the tap stand and smooth out the roof. We have a good team working on it, and we should be done for tomorrow. The weather has been giving us some late starts, but the masons are making up for lost time. We finally found all of the fittings in Bafoussam!!! Heading back now to Bamendjou to help finish up. This will probably be the last post before we get back. See you all in the states!!

Amy and Amy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Even more pix (Dr. Steve)

Below is our 20,000 L tank!! It still needs some more layers of mortar on the inside and outside, then the top (you can see there's still re-bar, wire mesh, and chicken wire up there) - and the exterior piping - but it's been a lot of work to the point and we are all very proud of our accomplishment. Mayor Mukam came up and looked at it and was also very impressed.
Above (sorry, the system here won't let me move pix) is Amy B. showing signs of exhaustion. piling dirt on her pants leg. I should be careful posting embarassing pictures, though: the team has dozens of pictures of their faculty advisor sleeping in various times and locations.
Work goes on!! Stay tuned!

We have made a lot of progresss on the tank since Wednesday. The first coat of mortar is on and most of the piping is installed. We have had great support from community members and the tank is moving along at a good pace. Except for a few fittings we were unable to locate in Bafussam, there have been no major bumps in the road. Time has gone by so fast since we have been here, it is sad that there is only a short time left here. However I now know more than ever that the time and effort that everyone here in Cameroon and back home puts into this project is well worth the rewards. In other news, sadly Cameroon lost it's second match of the world cup to Denmark.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today rain
Tomorrow tank roof and plaster preparations, sadly Dan also goes home because he has a job.
Friday we plaster the tank (if all goes well)

sorry for the short post but things are going quickly!!!!

-the team

Some more pix ...

We were invited to witness graduation ceremonies at the school. This means the school is empty, but there will always be a few hanging out wherever we work!

Here, the concrete for the floor is being brought in by "Indian file" - the Cameroonian term for a bucket brigade - which is seen coming from the right with full buckets and empty ones going back. A bunch of masons are pouring and smoothing the concrete.

Here's the entire team (except me). Note all the buckets!

In all my trips, this has been the most awesome as far as everybody pitching in. The Indian file was trilingual and our spirits were very high, even though Cameroon lost an important World Cup soccer match the previous evening. We're doing great!
Dr. Steve

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our extremely symmetrical tank :)

Our guys held their own in fooseball!

The Amy Blog

To answer Taylor's initial questions....

1. How to find galvanized pipe-We searched every store in Bafoussam, and we spotted it behind one of the stores.

2. How to put a 6 m (20 ft) pipe on the top of your car-Tie it to the rack of the car very carefully and enlist the help of the pipe cutters. This method works quite well even when the car gets stuck in a ditch during a rain storm for 2 hours. The bumpy Cameroonian roads were much worse during the storm, the frame of the car was lying on the ground, and one window was equipped with a disposable poncho. After a lot of shoveling, bouncing the car, burning rubber and hard work by Guy (our chauffeur extraordinare), Taylor (our fearless leader), Martine (our wonderful chef) and local children (who also made sure that other vehicles didn't hit us) the car was free. We decided to take an alternate route back, and the pipes arrived safely.

3. How to get the proper pipe lengths and thread everything--We walked down the street to the plumber who cut each pipe with a hand saw, while their stand kept falling over and used one of our great translators (Amy Chev) and Guy to get some complicated points across. When it started to rain we all moved into a stairwell, and the other plumber stopped watching the soccer game, which they can't get enough of, and helped us out as well. It took a long time, but now we know why those plumbers are so strong!

4. Saying enough is enough and coming back tomorrow-How about saying enough isn't enough and coming back that night with our headlamps. Well....we disturbed the locals, who are not used to people being up at night, so we need to work on this one some more.

In response to the World Cup questions, we gave the option of working during the Cameroon game or going back the next day, and received a unanimous come back the next day. Cameroon had a bit of a disappointing loss today, but we hope they come back in the next game.

The tank is coming along great! The masons who are helping us out with construction have good suggestions and methods, and have created a much more symmetrical tank than the prototype. It is awesome how easy it is to communicate ideas, how quick they pick up on the different techniques and how motivated they are to build not only a tank but a nearly perfect one.

We've been pretty lucky with the weather so far, and hopefully it holds out for tomorrow when we're pouring the foundation!

We've been working from sun-up to past sun-down (which is earlier here), but we'll try to post another blog soon.

--Amy Bucha and Amy Chev

Thursday, June 10, 2010

After three days of traveling we are finally here!!!

We spent the morning meeting with people and organizing the delivery of materials while we waited for the car to be fixed to make sure materials were ready for the start of construction on Monday. We managed to squeeze in a couple games of fooseball as the car was finished. Dan and Dr. Steve scored from defense. I did too... but it was on myself...

Its my fourth time here, and I have to say, it never gets old. There are always new challenges, like:
1) where do you buy glavanized pipe?
2) how do you get a 6 meter (almost 20ft) section of pipe on the roof of your car?
3) how do you tell the plumber you need multiple sections of various sizes cut and threaded?
4) being okay with saying enough is enough and come back tomorrow.

I`m stuggling the most with number 4 right now, but we`ll get through.

Hopefully we will have a few of the new members post something soon! Au revoir!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We're here!!

No snafu's - all luggage here, leaving for Bamenjou on the bus later today, stay tuned!
Dr. Steve

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6/8/2010 Travel Update

Hi everyone, the I-team landed in Casablanca at about 4AM EST and will depart for Cameroon at about 2 PM EST. They hope to get into Cameroon by about 8-ish.

I will call I-team emergency contacts when the team calls to confirm their arrival.

-Edwin, In country contact.