Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So much time

In Swahili, they say, “You have the watch, but we have the time.” This is meant to convey that while the western world runs around frantically trying to keep up with their schedule and perception of time, the East Africans don’t worry that it’s 3:23 p.m. and they have to get to a meeting in 7 minutes. We’ve somewhat fallen into this schedule of having time, but no watch: we wake up a little after the sun; we eat when we’re hungry, and we get tired when the sun sets. This is how it is outside of the large cities.

In the cities, there has been an increased trend to follow the western lifestyle from clothes to business to architecture. However, this model is not always best for everyone.

In reading Jeffrey Sachs, “The End of Poverty,” while he is not 100% correct, he did hit the nail on the head with one thing. In his book, he said that economic reforms need to be tailored to every individual country, and large international organizations and western governments cannot force a one-size-fits-all solution. Likewise, development and culture are not a one-size-fits all. Examples that thrive of the deviation from the western norm include the musical styles that you hear around the world. While Lady Gaga beats permeate the radio waves from sea to sea, there are local artists who would be on a level higher than her, as for popularity.

This mentality of tailoring modernity to local customs is something that SANA has taken into account. SANA is a the non-profit company we mentioned in the last post, which stands for Saving Africa’s NAture. In Swahili, the word “sana” roughly means “very.” If you throw it on the end of any word or phrase it intensifies it’s meaning, in the sense that “Karibu” means “welcome” but “Karibu sana” means that you are “very welcome.” When you’re expressing your sorrow for someone if they stubbed their toe, you say “pole” (pronounce poh-lay), however, if a goat pooped on their foot while you were talking, you would say, “pole sana.”

Yesterday, we were able to see some of the work that SANA is doing. In the park, between 20 and 30 km away (about an hour driving on the dirt roads, some of which are very washed out), they have acquired some land from the local village. With hopes of opening in September, the lodge will be a retreat with the idea of being a very (or sana) spiritual place connected with nature. The entire place is being built with local materials, the only non-local material is the bolts which hold up the roofs. The water will be collected from the rain, the waste from the bathroom will be turned into manure to fertilize the area around it, the soap will all be environmentally friendly and biodegradable, and more. Visitors will be required to pay a small fee to use the land (maybe a couple dollars), and that money will go back to the village that has leased the land to the lodge/retreat.

This is just one of the many projects that this organization is working on to support and preserve nature. Thankfully, they are not only working to save the forests, but they are also working with villagers to improve their livelihood and help them to understand the importance of their forests. They are also working on agricultural projects that would work to both feed families and provide a small income for the women who are growing the produce. I think this is very important, because there are so many times that we see large environmental organizations coming into an area they know very little about to save nature and whatnot, only to harm the livelihood of the people who live there. This has happened in Alaska several times and is very disappointing and disheartening. While I do love the environment, I do not like it when it comes at the cost of human lives. There is always a middle ground that can be found, but often times it gets lost in some injunction or another. SANA has successfully found this middle ground.

We were brought to this project because of our water project that works to conserve water. Our project harvests a natural supply of water without impeding on water available to plants and animals around. The ground that would have taken this water has a school built on top of it, so no worries (or omna shida) there. As for the project update, today is the last day of construction, the pipes will be connected from the gutters to the tanks, and small platforms to fill the water buckets will be made. We’re having a party tomorrow, and then leaving the village on Saturday morning.

Asante sana for reading!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greek Inspiration

Sometimes in life, you have the opportunity to meet really inspirational people. The kind of people who make you a little jealous of their life, but also ready to live your own to see what amazing things you can do. That happened on Saturday.

On July 22, Logan and I went to the Saadani Safari Lodge (really expensive place) to have both a gin and tonic and a nice dinner. While we were there, we met the owner/manager, Mark, a man we had been e-mailing back and forth with for sometime, but hadn’t had a chance to meet. We talked a while about our project, but business called us away, and we didn’t see him again until we were leaving after dinner.

The next day, there was a politician in town running for election, and we gathered in the crowed in the middle of the village to see what was going on. At that time, a man came up to us and started talking to us, his name was Kostas and he is a business partner with Mark. He invited us to dinner the following night at the lodge to discuss conservation issues in Saadani Park.

The next night, we sat at a table with 17 others among them were tourists, researchers, and individuals that worked at the hotel, all who were interested in conservation issues. We sat next to Kostas and his lady friend, which turned out to be both education and very very interesting. I say interesting because Kostas and his friend are both Greek, and they would sometimes chatter away in greek, bickering about something endearingly. You could tell these two had a long history together because they knew the other’s arguments inside and out. However, listening to both of them was very inspirational, and a simple question had the capability of setting either off lasting 10 minutes. But because they are both so dynamic, you’d forget that you hadn’t said anything more.

One of these questions we asked to Kostas was, “How long have you been in Saadani?” This prompted him to talk about his life story. He was born in Burundi, and has been moving around East Africa to all the National Parks for a long time and arrived in Tanzania for the first time in ‘94. He told us about his adventures around Tanzania until he was marooned in the southern part of the country with a group of researchers he happened upon. While in their company, one man asked if he had been to the place where elephants swim in the ocean. This is when he made his was to Saadani, when it was still a game reserve.

From that time, he has never left Saadani. He is now a manager (of some sort, not exactly sure of his title) of a very nice lodge, and has started a non-profit company, LTD. This company takes the profits it makes and re-invests it into the community of Saadani. The village is not the only benefactor of this generosity. He is currently working on building a lodge nearby that will protect a religious site and prevent a developer from coming in and building a hotel on the hill of the site.

The entire time he spoke about his life and his plans, he had to keep reminding me, “Bon appetite! Bon appetite.” The food was delicious, and I would start to eat it while still listening to him.

For a young person like me, meeting and hearing the story of someone like Kostas is extremely inspirational. It continually reminds me that often times, you just have to live your life, and things will happen to you. You can’t always make your life awesome or interesting, it just happens. For me, at this point in my life, this is especially important because I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. What should I study in grad school? In what direction do I want to start taking my life (career-wise)? Where should I live? What am I interested in? Etc, etc, etc. I have hope that I am going in the right direction, even though I have no idea where that direction is pointing yet.

Logan (about the whole post): Ditto

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Watoto (children)

A rock is only a rock if you call it a rock. However, it magically turns into the most delicious candy if you call it pipi (Swahili for candy). Everywhere we go the kids always say “I want candy” or “I want money” or “I want this” and “I want that.” So, I started mocking them, and we never actually give them any of the things we asked for. Because we’ve been here for a while, they’ve pretty much stopped asking us for things. Although, not completely.

Yesterday, Mr. Paolo was working on doing cement for the stands. Logan and I really couldn’t help out, and they had some extra hands helping out. We just watched. A few kids came over after a while, including one mischievous little girl wearing a gray dress. She poked her head around the corner and said, “Naomba pipi.” Or “Give me candy.” I looked at her and said in Swahili, “No, go away.” She hung around for a little while and kept saying it.

While she was saying it, I was sitting on the ground where one of the rocks that had been used for the foundation of the tank stand had been broken open. We were using really pretty rocks that had been laying around the school construction site, and the crystals were broken up into small pieces. So, I decided to mess with the little girl and play a trick on her. I grabbed the little rocks, got up and started walking over to her, to give her the “pipi.” She freaked out and started running away. I think she may have thought I was going to bop her on the head for being a brat (which we have done once or twice with particularly bratty kids). Because she ran away, I turned around to the other kids that were still standing there and started giving them the rocks one by one, each time sayings “pipi… pipi…” She kept running back to me sticking out her hand, and every time I tried to give her a rock, she ran away again. One of the kids Gidi (short for Gideon) took the “pipi” and popped it in his mouth. I kept giving him more and more and he kept putting the rocks in his mouth. He knew they were rocks, but I think he enjoyed, as much as me, teasing the little girl who was being annoying.

After a few minutes, she figured out that they were rocks, but she still wanted one. At the same time, one of the older men who was also standing around watching the cementing process started to holler at the kids telling them (what I’m assuming) was to get lost. I walked over to the man and showed him the “pipi.” He got a good chuckle out of it.

Anyway, we’re still working on the stands. We’re putting the top coat of cement on the stands, but we can only do one stand a day. Mr. Paolo says we’ll be done by Friday. When the project finishes, we have decided to have a big party with the people that helped. Mr. Paolo is buying a goat for us today, and he’s going to keep It at his house until next week, and we’re ordering soda and beer. That means we’ll probably be leaving first thing (~5AM) on Saturday to head to Zanzibar for the beginning of vacation time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A logistical post (nothing to do with statistics, sorry Chris)

So, we realized that we might not have fully explained the project to everyone. We just keep talking about all the other stuff that has been going on, but we’re not sure if we fully explained the project in detail.

Originally, we wanted to do a well, but that proved to have too many problems. With the help of our Tanapa friends, we decided to put a rainwater collection system on the primary school buildings. The primary school was chosen because it is now completely new, and the roofs don’t have any paint on them.

For the project, we have purchased 8 sim tanks. Each tank holds 5000 L, so we’ll be able to provide the village with 40,000 L of clean water. To catch the water, we are putting gutters on the building, and funneling the water to the tanks. We have been told that one good rain will fill them up pretty quickly.

After three days, we have completed all of the gutters, and we’re working on building the stands for the tanks. We are going to have four stands, each stand will have two tanks. This is why we’re digging the holes. We’ve dug these holes down two feet in the ground, then filled them partially with sand. After that, we put large square cinder-like blocks in there around the edge of the circle, and cemented them together, then put another layer on top. We’re not sure, but they might put three layers. After they put the three layers, then they’re going to fill the middle of the circle with the sand/cement mixture to make the stand.

The reason that we are digging, and putting sand in the holes is because the ground around here changes a lot between dry and rainy season. In the rainy season, the ground expands, and during the dry season, the ground contracts, cracks, and gets smaller. If you build without a foundation of sand that provides a buffer to these changes, the structure (building, sim tank stand, etc) will get cracks in it’s when the ground changes. Within a few years, you will have to tear it down and rebuild it because the cracks will cause it to be structurally unsound.

We’re currently working on three of the stands right now. The fourth will be built on top of the foundation of the old school, so we don’t have to worry about that one. After we build the sim tank stands, we should be finished. We’re hoping to be finished in the next week or so, and after that we’re going to have some vacation time in Zanzibar and in Mwanza on Lake Victoria in Western Tanzania.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Construction has begun

First Day – The first day of construction, we didn’t do too much, but we did saw some wood for Mr. Paulo, and pounded some nails into boards. The children were fascinated with the wazungus doing work, and they made their fascination evident in the 15+ strong audience we had while we were working.

Second Day – (Saturday) When we showed up on Saturday morning, Mr. Paulo had drawn an oval in the ground, about 8 ft long by 5 ft wide (for building the stands for the tanks that will hold the water). Then, he told us that we had to dig two feet down. Within this circle, there were several ant holes with little ants buzzing all over the ground (which probably attributed to those mysterious bites that popped up on our legs during the day). The kids, like the day before, were equally as fascinated and insisted on helping us. We let them use the shovels, but one kid kept going for the pick. He does not know what the word “No” means, even when spoken in his own language. The kids were around us throughout the day. In the afternoon, a few villagers came to help us, including a woman Mr. Paulo dubbed Mama Axe for her skills with the pick axe. By around 5 p.m. We finally finished the hole and were dripping sweat. I, Monica, was so covered in dirt I joked with a few Tanzanians that I looked like them now. I quickly showered and we had dinner.

Third day – Today was a cloudy day (Thank God – Alhamdoulillah), and it started raining! On the second day, Mr. Paulo had finished the gutters on the first building, also the biggest. The little drizzle that was coming from the sky was enough to fill up the gutters to produce a tiny little trickle coming out of the pipes. We celebrated by filling up a water bottle and drinking it! Then, we showed the bottle of water to a few people in the village saying it was the “first bottle of water from the rain.” The afternoon has been pretty easy because we only filled the holes halfway with sand. The next step is to fill them the rest of the way with stone, but we don’t have the rock to put in the holes yet. Mr. Paulo is working on the gutters, and all the wood has been cut, so there really isn’t much to do.

That’s all the work we’ve done for now. A lot is getting done and we are very excited to see it happen!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The project has started

The project has officially started. They cut some wood this morning, or something. Logan got back from Dar last night, and was excited to see the sim tanks near the primary school this morning.

I missed this, but was told by Sebastian that when the truck arrived, a bunch of people from the village all gathered around to help unload the truck. Apparently, they didn’t really believe the wazungus were going to be actually doing this project until the truck showed up.

This morning (Friday) we started the project. We showed up at the school where one man was cutting some wood. Then, the bureaucratic process began. The school is still under construction, and the contractor of the school project must have his say in the project. Thus, construction has yet to begin, and we’re currently renegotiating the budget to possibly add more. But, we’re getting to the point where there is no more money available.

The original plan was to put two sim tanks on each of the four buildings, totaling eight. Now, they’re thinking about putting four tanks on two buildings. But, this will up the budget a couple hundred thousand shillings. Not going to happen.

The reason why we even thought about changing the first plan was because one of the buildings had paint on its roof, and according to this website ( Tanzania is one of the countries that still sells lead paint for painting homes. I really don’t want to gamble with lead poisoning in this village. So we’ve just made a few changes to exclude the painted roof.

Hey all! I’m back safely from Dar! I’m so glad to be back. That place is too crazy for me. Sometimes I get very frustrated with how some of the people see tourists just as something to exploit for money. I just have to remember that most of the people aren’t like that. It’s just that those few people are the ones that are easiest to pay attention to (think of many prominent radio hosts in the US). Because of this, some tourists come here and leave, only remembering, “My god, the streets are full of thieves!” I’ve been avoiding this mindset and trying to remember that there are thieves in every country, it’s just that the thieves that live in America live in their multi-million dollar homes, so you won’t find them in the streets (oops… was that too much?).

Anyways, as Monica said, all the equipment is here and the people in the village are happy to see it. I am too, because it means that the multi-thousand dollar wire transfer we made the other day went where it was intended to go. Yay! Also, we can start our project! Today we put some nails in some boards and also sawed a bunch of boards for the gutter fittings. Tomorrow, we’re going to dig big ol’ holes for the cement water tank stands. I took pictures and I’ll post them when I have the opportunity. Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Short post

Hey All!

Logan is currently in Dar es Salaam with the contractor and a representative of the village. He called to tell me that everything is looking good. He'll be back tomorrow (thursday). The truck will either be arriving tonight (wednesday) or tomorrow with Logan. We're excited to get the project started. We've had a lot of down time, and planning going on, but it's finally time to do what we're supposed to be doing.

I finished a book today, called "Desperately seeking paradise: Journeys of a skeptical muslim." It's a very interesting book about a moderate muslim scholar and his explorations of different sects of Islam, how they interpret the Koran, and how he believes the Koran should be interpreted. He's written a bunch of books about this topic and the future of Muslims and Muslim societies throughout the world. Very very interesting. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in contemporary Islamic studies.

That's all for now. We'll have a better progress update tomorrow when Logan gets back and is able to talk about the trip to Dar.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Progress and Bonus Photo

Hi there! Above, I've included a bonus photo above that I took early in the morning one day.

Here's the progress report:

The project is coming along very well. Yesterday, we had the final planning meeting to finalize everything. Construction should actually start by this coming weekend! We finally found transportation for a reasonable cost. Today we initiated a wire transaction to a bank account in Tanzania from which we will pay for our contractor, supplies, and transportation. As soon as that money arrives, the contractor, the head school teacher, and I will take an overnight trip to Dar es Salaam to pay the supplier in person. After the transaction is complete, the supplies should come to Saadani the next day. Great!

It has taken Monica and I a lot of work and a lot of patience to get this far. We are very happy that the ball is now rolling. We really look forward to helping out during construction as well!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oranges are green

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve traveled to a few countries in this world is that some things are the same and not everything is different. Then there is the area between, things that remind you of home.

I have a sickness that has plagued me for the last 6 months: homesickness. It really didn’t make a difference if I was in Minnesota, South Dakota or Tanzania, I just really missed Dutch Harbor. I’ve been homesick for a while now. This disease has caused me to become somewhat of an anthropologist, in the sense that I compare and contrast every iota to the existence that I know best, living in Dutch Harbor.

There are the little things that are the same: the ocean is still blue, the grass is still green, and small town life is the same (if there is a new person in town, we know the color of their shoes 20 minutes after the plane landed).

There are the big things that are different that remind you you’re “not in Dutch Harbor anymore.” Things like: that racial rainbow is gone, and you’re the main attraction of all the village children, seeking candy, crying “wazungu” (foreigner), that whole language thing, manners, accidently pounding with the left hand, and green oranges.

While green oranges may not initially strike one as a major cultural difference, you’d be surprised. I say this because green oranges remind me of the one thing that is different in every country I’ve visited so far, and that is food. It doesn’t matter if you’re only going to McDonald’s in London… oh, bad example.

But my experience with food has been interesting. There have been times when all I wanted were buffalo wings in Egypt, or applesauce in Senegal, but it just wasn’t possible. Instead, I learned to love the food I found. Since being in Tanzania, I’ve been [probably] clinically overdosing on the quantity of rice consumed. However, a surprise that I’ve found is that I really really like ugali, which has a similar consistency to polenta.

Before coming to Tanzania, I had the honor of listening to Logan gush about all the foods we were going to eat and how much he loved chapatti. When I got here, my body was so overloaded on starch and carbs, I could barely digest the stuff. But after a few weeks, I love it too. When we go to the village for breakfast (some days we just eat in our hut), we always have two chapatti and chai (tea).

Now, it’s time to talk about chai. When visiting Turkey, I had caffeine withdrawals from my daily 3 or 4 cups of coffee. But during this time, I grew to love Turkish çay (pronounced chai). Turkish çay is very sweet (mostly sugar). After leaving Turkey and going to Morocco, the mint tea that everyone had was as equally stocked full of sugar, and only once or twice did I have a café au lait (90% lait – milk). When we went to Egypt, I was distraught to find a lack of tea, but thus began my love of instant coffee. After drinking Nescafe for 6 weeks, I have an appreciation of instant coffee that I will never loose. I share one of my most memorable travel moments with Nescafe. I was traveling in Israel with my friend, Justin, in Dec 2007. We decided to stay at Ein Gedi, a bump-in-the-road town near Masada on the Dead Sea. I woke up on Christmas Eve morning, went out to our little balcony and sat there drinking my instant coffee looking at the morning sun from the east on the Dead Sea. And with my host family in Senegal, I was more than overjoyed to find a tin of Nescafe sitting next to my half-loaf of French bread and slice of Laughing cow.

Between the instant coffee and super sweet tea, I have discovered both new vices and new comforts while traveling. These comforts always make traveling a little easier. Sometimes, all you want is AC, a hot shower, and a power outlet, but that’s not always available. When those comforts of home aren’t available, sweet tea and instant coffee will cure any homesickness and remind me why I love being on the road so much. And surprisingly, even though the oranges are green, they are still succulent.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Something Interesting from my Reading

Currently I am reading Pathologies of Power, by Paul Farmer. I found a passage that may be interesting and relevant to any health professionals reading our blog in South Dakota. Paul Farmer commonly refers to his experience in rural Haiti, but I found the following passage very relevant to healthcare in Pine Ridge:

"Certainly, patients may be noncompliant, but how relevant is the notion of compliance in rural Haiti? Doctors may instruct their patients to eat well. But the patients will "refuse" if they have no food. They may be told to sleep in an open room and away from others, and here again they will be "noncompliant" if they do not expand and remodel their miserable huts. They may be instructed to go to a hospital. But if hospital care must be paid for in cash, as is the case throughout Haiti, and the patients have no cash, they will be deemed "grossly negligent.""

I often hear people blaming poor health outcomes in Pine Ridge on the "agency of the patient." It is interesting and important, I believe, to take into account this alternate perspective.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Politics, as usual (?)

There is an election in Tanzania in October… surprise! We were unaware of this until it was recently explained to us by Grace, that every time there is an election in Tanzania, all projects cease.

The opposition party promises they’ll do the projects, while the incumbents are worried about retaining their seats, so the projects do not get started. If the incumbents start a project, then the opposition party accuses them of planning to do so before the election to gain popularity.

And we have been caught in the middle. We were told that some individuals in the village thought that our water project was a political move by the powers that be, and they were against it.

In this election cycle, EVERYONE will be voted on. All the way down to our friend Juma, the executive officer. Every now and then, this fact is brought to our attention, and it is a little disheartening.

Project Update: The last thing we’re trying to figure out is how to pay for transportation. We’re trying to find the most inexpensive means of transportation. We have about 500 leftover in the budget, and we’re not sure if this would be enough to hire a driver and do everything in one haul. Because of this fact, we’re looking at borrowing a truck from the district (depending on size), and we’d only have to pay for the fuel.

Other than that, we are able to buy all of the supplies from one company in Dar es Salaam, and then we’ll start the project. Hopefully we’ll be doing all of that within the next couple of days (2-5 days).

Monday, July 5, 2010


Here are a few pictures we were finally able to load.

This is the old, broken-down windmill that was once used by the village. The well has gone saline and is now useless.

Here is a well found nearby the windmill. It is open and therefore susceptible to contamination. It has also gone saline, along with a number of other dugout wells in the area. Obviously, groundwater is not a sustainable option for Saadani.

This is a nearby riverbed where the residents currently get their water. As you can see, the source is completely open and very susceptible to contamination. Also, any pathogens entering the river upstream cannot be separated from the water before collection.

Yellow containers strapped to bicycles is the current method of transportation for the river water.

Here is where Monica and I are living (actually next door but there is a big tree in front of ours).

Here we are with some children from the village. We spent some time on the beach walking around with them.

Today, Monica and I had some meetings with the tourism officials and the village executive officer. We are currently negotiating the scale of the project as well as price. The first draft of the rainwater harvesting system ended up being twice the cost of our available budget. We are currently researching other options for water storage, such as a very large underground tank. Mr. Paulo (our contractor) is going to research this option so that we may compare costs. We are also trying to get contributions from the residents of Saadani and from Tanapa. These may be contributions of materials transport, labor, or money.

Other than that, Monica and I are doing well. The weather has been quite gloomy lately, but we like it because it's nice and cool ('poa' in Swahili). This morning, I got up at 6 am to take pictures of the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. It's really nice getting up early. I think I'll do it more often.

That's all for now! Baadaye (Later)!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Committee Meeting

1: Project Progress

Yesterday (Friday), Monica and I attended a village meeting at the primary school. The meeting consisted of the village committee and the water committee and was called especially to discuss what to do about the water situation in the village, given the limited available funding. The main idea to discuss was to outfit each of the new school’s roofs with a rainwater collection system. The water would be stored in 4-6 10,000-liter tanks and would only be used for drinking and applications in which water wouldn’t be boiled before consumption. The Executive Officer, the Chairman, and the School Headmaster led the meeting. Monica and I sat at the front of the room, next to the leaders. The meeting was opened by something that sounded like an oath. Monica and I stood up and introduced ourselves in Swahili and the meeting began.

From the onset of the meeting (which was held entirely in Swahili) it was easy to discern a number of differing opinions on the matter. One young man, in particular, had some very strong negative opinions of us. He was always yelling and throwing his finger in my direction with a very angry face. Everyone else in the room would put his or her heads down and laugh at him whenever he spoke, indicating that he wasn’t somebody that anybody took seriously. There was also a strong consensus that the best-case scenario would be to pull water from the Wami River, located quite a ways south of the village. Such a project would cost around 50,000 US dollars, which is obviously not in the budget. In the end, the majority agreed that the rainwater collection system would be the best option, considering the limited funding. At the close of the meeting one of the members of the village committee stood up to express the group’s appreciation for what we are doing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We finally have a plan.

We sorta had a plan before, but now it’s being finalized. Logan and I were on our way to lunch when we saw some Tanapa staff, the staff who had helped us on Sunday. So, we bypassed lunch and followed them. We told them the chairperson wasn’t being very helpful, and we were informed that we should be dealing with the executive officer.

A troop of children led us to the house of the executive officer, and then we began the march towards the Tanapa office. On the way, we picked up the school headmaster. The two Tanapa staff, executive officer, and headmaster chattered in Swahili for a while, stopping to explain to us every now and then what they were talking about. Angela and Sebastian (Tanapa staff) had an idea.

Apparently, the executive officer said that there was a need to drill in the Saadani National Park and then pump the water to the village. This would require surveys and a lot of money and more time than we have. So, the idea Angela and Sebastian proposed was to do a rainwater collection system off of the new primary school buildings (brand spanking new buildings). The headmaster would monitor the system and take small collections of money to sustain the system. Tanapa is currently using the same system, but privately. The water is not available for community use.

Everyone seemed to think that this idea would work, and would help solve the problem of having potable drinking water for the community. This news came after a very disappointing morning of us thinking that our project was going to fail and we were going to have to return all the money.

The community would continue to use the river water for washing clothes and cooking (because all the bacteria die when they get heated up), but the new water system would be used for drinking. They have agreed to file reports and keep us updated after we leave.

We’re finally making ins with the community, and it’s very satisfactory. I think people are starting to realize that we’re not just passing through.