Last week I had the pleasure of taking a day trip to visit our drill team who have been working in the village of Mngeta for the last month. The team have completed 6 works in Mngeta. Mngeta is 45 km past Namwawala – so about 90kms over dirt road from Ifakara. The trip on the motorbike was very picturesque, hugging the Udzungwa Mountain range.
The first two jobs that were completed are in within the vicinity of the village. I had to laugh as both are located high up in the foothills of the Udzungwa Mountains – a location which is very hard for us to locate water due to rocks. At both sites they tried to drill boreholes and hit very hard rock between depths of 4-6m. The decision was to make open wells. Bahati, the well digger from that team, was able to hack out two very good wells.
The first open well, which was donated by Mr Kurt Euston, is being operated and managed by a Women’s group. Now I just love when women take control and manage water!!! They do such a better job than men! The well was immaculate and clean. The pump was locked and is opened only during supervised times. The water here is currently free to the people in the area – the contribution costs were shared between the families. 28 families rely on this water point – they tell me that equates to around 250 people. Over 300 buckets are drawn daily. Though the well is not deep it is very very clean and tasty – actually it should be bottled and sold overseas!!! This is because they border the Udzungwa Mountains and are away from any development and also because the well is taking water from rock fissures. The water is very cold, indicating it has come from the Mountains.
The most pleasing aspect of this particular visit was the appreciation from the women (mothers). They told me they are very happy now and that the health of their families, particularly children, has improved. They no longer have stomach complaints. This is another qualitative anecdotal example of how MSABI is improving health through safe water. I hope next year we can undertake a quantitative study and get some scientific data together that supports this preliminary evidence. The women also showed me where they previously collected water from - a shallow dirty hole 20m away. I'm not surprised they had stomach complaints previously. They said to collect clean water, the nearest pump was over 1km away down and up a very steep hill.
Bahati, in red, stands behind the well he dug, which has changed the lives of over 250 people!
A well kept clean water point - managed by women.
Thanks Kurt Euston. Kurt's well is located at Mngeta Village, GPS point S08 20 34.5 E036 05 00.6
Cute children pose for a picture.
The water is crystal clear cool spring mountain - quality suitable for sale in fancy bottles to yuppies.
This is their old water hole. What a difference!
Old and new.
The second well was also in an isolated section of the village outskirts – also bordering the Udzungwa Mountains. The well is not near any dwellings and it was apparent that the management of this water point was not being done by women! 3 out of 4 bolts that are used to secure the pump wheel and hood to the frame were already missing – presumably stolen for some unkown purpose. I guess it is difficult to buy any type of hardware in these areas – though not impossible to find some new bolts. Anyway, at present the pump is held together with some wire/string. A credit to the design, it still works fine!
I will talk about the other 4 installations in the next blog.
You can see the pump below the banana trees. This area is very beautiful!
Bahati examines the 2nd installed pump in Mngeta.
This pump was donated by my parents Pam and Bruce Young. My family has donated around $7000 so far, without their support the project would have failed. You can see how even after someone has taken out the bolts around the handle, with some wire/string the pump can still operate effectively.