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.

1 comment:

  1. My Mom in an email: he water project you're funding is reminiscent of of my Peace Corps days in 1976. I had a little cinder block house and my entire water source came off my tin roof into a
    catchment above my kitchen window. It was actually piped into a faucet at the kitchen sink. It stood high off the ground, I suppose to keep animals out, but below the roof line so the water drained into it. Because the sun was so intense, the roof was always sterilized and because the island got 400 inches
    of rain a year the catchment was always full--well not always, I do remember one unusually long dry spell when there was concern that the catchments could be emptied. There was a very fine screen over the top of the catchment that kept the water free from bugs and debris.
    I'm sure there are more sophisticated systems engineered since then, but I will say as simple as it was, it was a flawless set up and I would imagine is still in place today.