We finished the Rain Water Catchment (Plan “B”) project in Butenga!
It took about a week and a half to get the material to the site, but only three days to complete the work. Planning and scheduling can be quite difficult in the field. The town, Luweero, that we go to for most of the rainwater catchment materials is about an hour away in a Matatu (in an old 15-passenger van that “easily” holds 28 people 😉).
We bought two water tanks in Luweero and sent a (rented) truck to retrieve them the following day only to find that they weren’t available. We were “sold” tanks that weren’t actually at the shop. It took 10 days from when we paid for the tanks to when we actually got them to our project site. We have also gone to Kampala, the capital, for parts and that takes about 2-2.5 hours one-way in a Matatu.
Once we had the materials, the rain catchment construction went relatively quick. The building wasn’t constructed well (walls made from mud and large “sort of but not really straight” branches) and that meant that John had to be very creative in figuring out how to put straight facia board and gutters on a wall that leaned inwards and outwards. Unfortunately, John had to leave before the project was actually finished but his work on the facia board was invaluable.
The day that we finished the system, it rained. It was the heaviest rainfall we’ve had in Butenga during the month I’ve been here and it happened at the perfect time – the gutters and tanks were installed and all we needed was rain to fill the water tanks and we got it!
Rainwater catchment is an improvement from their current source, but it is not going to solve all their water issues. There is enough storage in the tanks for drinking water to last about 20 days (if all 200 people use the tanks) between rainfalls.
The water committee that we started in Butenga understands that these tanks are helpful but other processes should be implemented – especially if the water tanks are empty. Some examples would be boiling the water they retrieve from the pits (if using for drinking or cooking) or using other forms of water filtration and disinfection (bleach, solar pasteurization, biosand filter, etc).
We, at Hydromissions, do our best to improve a community’s water sources by one step (at least). In this case, the end result (rainwater catchment and storage) may not be exactly what we wanted for a community this size (200 people) but it is still a very good improvement from their existing source (an open pit that is shared by livestock and people as the sole drinking/cooking/washing water source).
In addition to the rainwater catchment, we also had the dedication for our latrine at the Parents Primary School of Kakooge. This school has children ranging from 5 years old to about 14 years old. The old existing latrine started to sink (NOT something you want to happen) so we constructed a new one for the students to use.
John, my volunteer teammate for part of the projects, made a video of his experience volunteering with Hydromissions for the first time. It’s a nice way to see what we did while he was here:
Lastly, during the time we were waiting for materials to arrive at Butenga, we started drilling at a primary school called Ebenezer in Kyansinbi. We ran into a few rocky spots during our first hour, but after passing that layer, we proceeded to drill 37′ in one day! That’s the most I’ve drilled with a team in one day (without a collapsing borehole). Quite a difference in soil conditions between Butenga and Kyansinbi. Although only a little over 4 miles apart, we spent 6 days digging in Butenga and progressed a total of 15′ but in one day in Kyansinbi, we reached 37′!
That’s about all I have time to catch up on – please continue to pray for Kyansinbi as we continue to drill.
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