Hello everyone!

Today is a more relaxing day for us, as most of the community members take this day to go to church. Erin C. went to Nyondo Parish in the morning for mass while Misaki and Erin F. dissected ants out of the bread for breakfast. The group traveled again on Boda Bodas to Mbale to see the town, use internet, go grocery shopping, and eventually meet John and Greg when they arrive from Kampala. David and James help us get the Boda Bodas and negociate fair prices. The whole group is very excited to get John’s input and advice on contruction when he comes. He arrived early this morning in Entebbe at 4am and will hopefully meet us today by 2pm. The biggest change from the construction plan so far has been a change in materials from flexible tubing to connect the borehole pump to the storage tank to PVC pipe.This change is due to the supplies found in Mbale. While John is not a huge fan of the PVC piping, as it can be chemically degraded in the sun and damage water, we have plans to bury most of the pipes in the ground. We also found out (through an old report) the the original borehole contains PVC piping.

Yesterday the group attending the first community meeting. Vincent, the chairman of Shilongo, and Pat, the chairman of a neighboring village Fuumu, were both there. The design of the tank and pump were explained to the community. The travel team was very impressed with the community’s questions, as they were very concerned about theft, stagnant water, and availability of spare parts. Richard, Miria, and Carol were all there to help translate for us, and they made sure that the community knew we wanted their input on everything. We decided to start excavating and laying the bricks on Monday so that Vincent could get the community ready.

After the meeting we met Florence, the chairwomen of the community. She was very welcoming, inviting us to her home and explaining to Erin C, Erin F, and Misaki that we were all daughters to her. She helped us figure out how many crushed rocks and sand we would need for the tank, as the community is providing us with those. It is a great sign that they are prepared to take ownership of the project.

We also were able to see how many bricks had been prepared for us, and Misaki worked with the community members to lay down a plan of the first layer of bricks. Since the bricks are larger than expected, our outer dimensions have changed slightly. It now appears that the tank will be 234x167cm due to the increased size of the bricks and the amount of concrete used in between them. the kids loved the tape measure, and helped measure borehole dimensions, and how tall each other and Erin F. were.

After lunch, the group went with Carol and Roger to do water quality tests for all of Shilongo’s water sources. Everything went great, until the group saw a baby goat that had just been born with its mother (umbilical cord and everything). The group took a picture of it, and all was well until a man walked towards them, appearing very upset. Carol explained that the man was already drunk, but tried to claim that the goat was his, and we broke the law by taking a picture of it. He wanted to take us to LC (the American equivalent of court we think), unless we gave him money. Carol explained that the goat wasn’t even his, and that he just wanted money from the Muzungos (white people) for drinking later, but the group gave him 2000UGX shillings (less than $1) to avoid a sticky situation. Lesson learned: don’t take pictures of the goats. Walking to all of the water sources around the village ended up taking 3.5 hours. Although the views were great (we could see the mountains and beyond to Kenya), the group was exhausted by the end.

Samuel stopped by to check in on us at the Parish house, and we spent another night without power doing calculations, community health work, and reading information from FDNC.

New Vocab we learned since last time: Watchenyala (watch-een-yall-ah) which means “well done”

Arinde (goodbye) for now!
Erin F, Erin C, Cliff, Misaki (and soon to be met by Greg and John!)