The week ahead

The training staff from Njombe have returned home. Both Mr Laban and Mr Oloto were very impressed with our project and potential for expansion within the Kilombero Valley. They have expressed interest in being involved in the future to run the project! They would make a very valuable addition to the MSABI team. All we need now is a major sponsor!!! The MSABI team learnt a lot from these two guys and responded very well to their teaching style. What was super impressive was that Mr Laban and Mr Oloto both extended their stay and worked voluntarily for free for a total of 3 days!

I am very proud of the MSABI teams performance so far. We are facing many daily battles, but everybody remains upbeat and are happy to work long hours to achieve our goals. It makes my job very easy and enjoyable to have a team who are enjoy learning and eager to try often difficult and dirty tasks. Our team has grown to 12 as we have had 2 local volunteers join us for the last 2 weeks. They want to learn how to become drillers, and both have been working harder than anybody.

My only problem is trying to juggle our budget. I have a small budget buffer that I try to work with to judge the capacity of the project to buy new equipment and pay staff salaries. This next month will be extremely tough I think. We are hopeful for a few new donations, but as it stands we will be cutting things very tight and I will have to likely reduce the team to around 6-8 people. I would like to buy another 2 "rota sludge" drill units to keep up with our work demand and keep our MSABI team employed and busy. With 3 drill teams we can work in Namawala, Idete and have a floating team doing jobs in either village or surrounding villages such as Ifakara. With community contributions coming in it is hoped that we can extend our budget. Since installing our first pump we have received numerous new applications and interest from other villages. We have come up with a new contribution strategy:
TSH200,000-600,000 contribution for village people from Idete and Namawala (preference for higher contributions)
SH600,000 surrounding villages
TSH800,000 for Ifakara.
For reference TSH1000 is around AUS$1.
The MSABI cost price including labour is around TSH600,000-800,000 depending on location and drill depth. Currently, we have very low overheads. In comparison SHIPO, installing the same equipment has a cost price around TSH1.2 million, because they are a larger organisation with overheads for management staff, office, cars etc. They are still very cheap compared to other NGOs using conventional foreign pumps which budget around TSH12 million per installation!

The District Water Engineer visited this week. He arrived acting a bit defensive asking where our drill permit was and quizzing us on basic water engineering questions. He left an hour later very excited about the pumps and drilling technology and was heard by a villager saying to his staff that "we thought we new everything but today we were given a lesson". I hope to meet up with him again soon to discuss further the option of contracting our staff to do work for his department. In Njombe, SHIPO sometimes gets paid by the District Water Office to do jobs for them. We will see.

This week we hope to finish our first borehole and complete our second open well installation. We will also start work on our first conversion of an existing "dead" SWN hand pump to a new rope pump at nearby Kisegesi Village, and start work on another open well in Namawala. In other good news we have our next drilling job ready to go at the local Namawala health clinic. They have decided to contribute TSH400,000 to get priority.

Also, this week I have my sister and brother-in-law coming to visit, so I will head to Dar es Salaam on Wednesday to meet them and we will return together on Friday by train. They have donated $500 already and would like to see the project and how their money has been spent.