Published: September 26th 2008September 26th 2008
We have finally finished our first project!
We returned to Sakutiek for what we thought would be 5 days and ended up staying nearly 2 weeks. The violence that had interrupted us at the start of the construction subsided with a sudden armed Police presence ensuring that the peace was kept. Things gradually returned back to normal over the following week with shops slowly opening up and eventually the daily bus service resuming at the end of the week.
Work was slow to start with as each day it seemed as though a different set of cement had to dry or it became too late to start mixing the cement so it felt like we started with a series of half days, which only added to our frustration after the delays.
Once the team started the construction process above ground things seemed to accelerate. We went to Naivasha for a couple of days (balanced on the back of a potato truck) as they started the construction of the tower and returned to see the 40 foot tower complete with its 16 rotors lying on its side waiting for the pump to be lowered into the borehole. On
the Monday the tower was winched up over the open borehole as the clouds parted and let the sun shine down momentarily (it actually happened like that!) and they began to lower the pipes down. Having laughed at us when we had offered to help, I was desperate to get involved and offered to ‘pump’ the leaver to lower a pipe… Shocked that a ‘female’ would attempt such a job the team looked on as I made a sterling effort for Dig Deep. This display of brawn by both myself and Peter left the locals eager to show off their strength and talent as they queued up to have a go. It turned into a bit of a ‘massive lad’ competition which was a great success as the pipes went down in no time at all and Pete defended Dig Deep’s pride. Thanks to this enthusiasm from the lads a two day job was halved and completed in less than a day. The pumping rods weren’t as heavy and thus were a bit too easy so it was left to the Kijito team, the maintenance men and ourselves the following day.
On Wednesday afternoon we had the first water
being pumped out and the plumber set to work to quickly connect everything. He had a bit of a journey to arrive in Sakutiek, 4 hours on the back of a motorbike along the bumpy tracks and pushing the bike through bogs and ponds. As a result he arrived a bit late giving us quite a scare during the wait. On Thursday the plumber was up at sunrise to make sure everything was connected that morning in time for our meeting to hand the project over to the community and the water comitee. We held a meeting with about 75 community members to answer any final questions, stress that the project is now entirely their responsibility and let them organise a fence to be built around the tanks. We left Sakutiek, with the tanks filling and the cement on the tap stand drying, to escape to Naivasha where we could eat more than chapatti and beans and avoid the unseasonal drenching every afternoon.
We had a really luxurious and enjoyable evening with someone we met in Ethiopia who happened to live near Naivasha before heading to Nairobi to eat a lot of meat at Carnivore and collect my (Peter’s)
Dad for a last minute weekend tour of Dig Deep in Kenya. In less than 35 hours we traveled from Nairobi to Sakutiek to Endonyo Narasha with a brief stop in Narok to sleep and eat.
This week we started by finalizing preparations with World Concern for the arrival of Kijito for the second wind pump in Endonyo Narasha. They are now progressing well and expect to be finished on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. After what we hope will be a far less stressful and eventful installation. Fingers crossed…
A week after the installation in Sakutiek was completed the community are still adjusting to the pump. There is currently an unusually large amount of rain up in the Mau Escarpment, thus reducing the wind below what is usually expected. It is going to take more than a week for the community to appreciate that rain will reduce the wind speed and that they must use the rain water when it is available. We will be returning in the next couple of days to answer any more questions that have arisen this week. As generator driven pumps are so common adjusting to a pump that you cannot turn
the winner of the strong man competition
he lowered a pipe with 1 arm in less than 5 minutes
on and off requires a new way of thinking. We are being supported by the water authority with this transition as they have offered to go and talk to the community in the next few weeks with somebody who has years of experience with wind pumps in a similar community and a similar environment.
And finally HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JO, 24 today!!!
There are more photos below