The travel team cannot believe we have been here a week already. We are so busy taking in everything, trying to learn, and also construct and gather all of the materials that we need.
We started the day early in the community redoing the concrete layer that had been washed away in last nights downpour. After the cement had been poured the villagers instructed us to buy more tools. Thank goodness Richard had ridden in on his bike, so he was able to take Erin C. right away to Mbale. While she was away, the rest of the group gathered more bricks. When she returned, we began laying the first layers of bricks. The community members worked so quickly – almost too quickly for us. Erin C. and Misaki began to panic when the bricks were put down without spaces for the spigots. However, both the members and John had assured them that the bricks were done that way on purpose.They were worried that the spigots would be stolen before the cement had dried and decided that tomorrow we should instead drill into the bricks and cement tomorrow to place the spigots. During the building process, Erin F. talked to Vincent and Florence about establishing a waterboard. Vincent decided that the waterboard for the tank should be a separate group of people from the already established group that maintains the borehole. The final group is as follows:
Other florence: vice chairperson
In the afternoon, Miria and Carol accompanied Erin F. to a women’s meeting while the others continued to build the tank. The women’s meeting was for the “serving” committee, which was a group of women who had established a loan and payment committee so that women could be financially independant from the men. The group started about three years ago, and was initially funded by the Ugandan’s Women’s Efforts to Save Orphans (UWESO). The group had an established loan system and constitution and consisted of about 36 women.
By the time Erin F, Miria, and Carol returned from the meeting, the walls of the tank were all completed! The group had worked so hard, and were rewarded with fresh eggs, corn, and cabbage from Florence. We decided that the next day a few members will travel into Mbale to get hopefully the last parts for the tank (tubes and piping) while Greg and Cliff will stop in at the PONT Mechanic Engineering workship to cut the metal for the pump. The rest of the team will finish digging the lower areas of the tank (where the jerry cans will be placed), as well as drill openings for the spigots and hopefully construct the cement lid for the tank. Once that is completed, the group would like to do a 24-hour water tightness test to check for any leaks so that they can be fixed before John leaves.
We are exhausted, but having so much fun still! Since we did not have electricity, we enjoyed another evening with a candlelit dinner before going off to bed after a exhausting but successful day!
Until next time,
Erin C., Erin F., Misaki, Cliff, John, and Greg
(We’re trying to upload a picture of the tank now!)