Friday, January 11, 2013

Dr. Steve Drinks Wine and Sleeps


This morning we got a tour of George's (the chief of Batougouong) compound and even got shown the central building of the compound where all of his ancestors were buried (very cool!).  After he showed us around his house we took a walk out to the tapstand nearest Bamendjou, on the road from the cow pond into town.  Here we discussed what would be done with this tapstand to prevent overuse.  Once we had finished at George's we drove over to the chief of Bakang II where there was a meeting going on to discuss the plans for the day.  At this meeting we were introduced to the chief and discussed some of the things that we wanted to get done.

Once we had talked with them, we decided to get on our way so that we could get everything finished.  We first headed out to the ferrocement tank at the top of the hill to see what was happening up there.  Felix and Felix had found some burned conduit that needed to be replaced on the Bakang II float switch line.  Unfortunately, this had never been buried, so a brush fire had destroyed part of it.  Erica and I headed down the hill to take care of the conduit while Ramsey finished the connections at the tank and Dr. Steve parleyed with the mayor.  Once word got out that the mayor was present everyone burying the conduit to Bakang II left except for one very helpful local, Justin.  He showed Erica and I a very quick way to splice the conduit and replace the parts that needed to be fixed and sped up the process greatly.  After the conduit was finished, we headed back up the hill to see what was happening at the tank.  By this time, Ramsey was finished with the connections, and he and Dr. Steve went to the Bakang II tapstand down the road near the chief's house.  In the meanwhile, Erica and I walked down the hill to Bakang I and then over to Bakang II to see what the situation was at both sites.

At Bakang II we found some of the locals hanging out underneath the shade of some avacado trees.  Erica and I saw that they had cut down the bamboo grove that had been surrounding the borehole and it looked a lot better which I tried to tell them in butchered French.  We then learned that one of the locals there, Pedro, knew English very well.  I told him that we were trying to get the solar panels and tanks cleaned, and we also wanted to get access to the wet well cleanout which had been buried.  At around this time, Dr. Steve, Ramsey, and Felix drove up and came to see what was going on.  Pedro greeted Dr. Steve and almost immediately offered him a glass of boxed (Spanish) wine.  Dr. Steve said the wine was quite delicious and so Ramsey tried some as well.  After this very hearty greeting, we saw Marcel cleaning the solar panels, and he helped us to unbury the cleanout.  On testing the cleanout, we determined that the water inside was very clean (hooray!) but that mud got back in because the cleanout trench wasn't sloped enough.  Once this was taken care of we all headed back to the spot that I had located in the Bakang I line as most likely having the break (with Ramsey's Dad's awesome Christmas present).  Ramsey located the spot more exactly, and we and some of the locals started digging while Dr. Steve went to look at another tap stand location.  Ramsey soon found what looked like a fox hole, and was pretty confident that that is what caused the break in the line which soon afterward he triumphantly proved.

As Ramsey worked on fixing the break in the line, Erica, Dr. Steve, and I went up to the school to unload all of our gear out of the truck because Felix and Felix needed to go to Bamendjou for tap stand materials.  While we were up at the top of the hill, we decided that it would be good to test the float switches once again as they should all be operational at this time.  I walked the Bakang II line down the hill and mapped it on Ramsey's GPS so that we have that information in the future.  After getting to Bakang II, I saw that the tanks were empty after being cleaned, so there would be no way to test the float switches there.  Instead, I walked down to Bakang I where I met Ramsey who had finished connecting the line and had determined that the float switches were just awful because they still weren't working.  I decided to take the AM radio and toner up the hill while Ramsey placed the exciter on the Bakang I float lines.
The tank is almost full!
Meanwhile, at the top of the hill Dr. Steve had decided to take a nap on top of the control box, which Ramsey has renamed the water sarcophagus.  When I got up to the top of the hill he looked plenty comfortable, and Ramsey called just as I got up to the tank.  We checked the line and determined that the lines were continuous all the way to the float switches, which was a good thing.  I decided to walk down to Balatsit and check on the float switches there and see if they were working (they weren't :-( ).  When I came back up, I took a look in the tank, and the water was covering the last of the concrete steps and was probably six inches from the float switches.  It was really awesome to see so much water in the tank, but also kind of nerve-wracking as the tank could possibly overflow tomorrow.  Ramsey has put on his thinking cap to try to figure out how to get these float switches working (the theory right now being that there is too small of a current in the wire for the controller to sense).  Tomorrow we have plans to fix the solar racks that were constructed with flat pieces of aluminum rather than C-channel or L-beams, and head into Bafoussam to prepare for the ceremony coming on Monday.  Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely here, thanks for all of your support!

-Cameroon Team
The obligatory Dr Steve sleeping photo.

1 comment:

Nura said...

soooo proud of you guys! wish i had been there for the ceremony. hugs and love to everyone!