About 3 months ago, four of our members (Kim, John, Ranjit, and myself) ventured off to Kenya for our very first implementation trip at the Imurtot Primary School. After many months of hard work, we were excited to finally make our designs a reality and help provide water to the school community. Thankfully Tad and the Water Is Life - Kenya team (Joyce, Sadera, Musyoki, and Larasha) had already picked up the materials required so we were able to hit the ground running once we arrived.
Our team decided to choose the two smallest buildings to install our system on first to help us prove our concept. The first two buildings, the Library and Kitchen, are shown below just an hour into our work.
|Library - Before|
|Kitchen - Before|
At first the project was moving slowly because we were all trying to get our bearings and figure out how to construct everything correctly since we had minimal spare parts and could not afford to make mistakes. We soon learned of the difference in quality of materials as we broke several drill bits the first day and realized that the PVC pipe didn't quite fit into some of the fittings. We put Sadera's fire making skills to the test and had him build us a fire so that we could boil water. We used the boiling water to make the PVC pipe soft and malleable so that we could get it to slide into the fittings.
|Tad (left), Joyce (center-left), Andrew (center-right), and Sadera (right), work to boil water for the PVC pipe|
The days were flying by and the team was worried about getting the projects completed in time. Fortunately, some good omens, in the form of rain and a rainbow, gave us confidence that we would get the project done.
|Women collecting water from a stream flowing from the previous day's rain|
|Rainbow at Imurtot Primary School|
After the third day, we finally had a good handle on the work and were moving along! Kim and Larasha presented the project to the community and it was well received!
|Larasha (left), the Chairman (center), and Kim (right) present the EWB project to the community|
We were hot, tired, and sweaty, but the idea of providing the kids water kept us motivated.
|Students lower the Kenyan flag at the end of the day|
We had the gutters up on all of the buildings, had the tanks in place, and had most of the PVC pipe in place and just one day left to get both system ready for use - this was turning into a nail biter!
|Andrew makes modifications to the gutters so that the water is captured|
|John (left), Ranjit (center), and Andrew (right) work to install modifications on the Library's gutters|
We had one full day left to tie everything together and educate the teachers on the system, and with seconds left, we successfully completed the project and trained the school teachers.
|Kitchen - After|
|Library - After|
|Teachers learning about the rain catchment system|
|Tad. John, Andrew, and Ranjit explain the system to two teachers|
|EWB Implementation Team and WILK (Sadera, Tad, Andrew, Kim, Ranjit, John, and Joyce)|
After a week of hard work, we were all proud to have represented our chapter doing a project so meaningful to the community. Just days after we all arrived safely back home, Joyce informed us that it had begun raining at Imurtot and the tanks were beginning to fill with water. In only a few weeks, Joyce informed us that all six tanks were actually full! We were able to store approximately 19,000 liters of water in just a few weeks, truly amazing. What's even better? We've since received photos of the students using our system to fill their cups.
Its photos like these that make all of us realize how important and meaningful our efforts are and help drive us forward to continue our design and fundraising efforts. We are hoping to make it back in October of 2018 to build on our momentum and provide an even larger source of water for these kids!