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Int’l update: News from Nyatemba, Kenya

March 4, 2013

Janet Napier reports: I just received an update on an Engineers Without Borders-UCSB chapter water project that we helped out financially last year in Kenya.  Our Club donated $2,000, and Fillmore Sunrisers and Montecito each contributed $1,000 plus we received a $200 anonymous donation for a total of $4,200.  It’s a great example of our donated dollars being put to good work.

The report from Engineers Without Borders:

Moureen by water spigot NyatembaOver the past few months, the Nyatemba borehole has been a meeting place for the Luanda community. People come from as far as the lakeshore to collect water for drinking. Walking past the roadside in the early morning, I can see donkeys grazing waiting for jerry cans to fill, women doing wash beside the water taps, and children resting in the shade of the tank.

In the first few months after the system’s installation, the Nyatemba Water Committee did not open it very often. The community never knew when they could come to collect water and disappointed people who brought their jerry cans would leave with them still empty. Instead, the community was still relying on the lake water. Finally, the community banded together to confront the water committee about opening the system more often. The Nyatemba Water Committee asked the Opanga Water Committee for advice on better managing the system. They worked out a schedule to come in the mornings to one Nyatemba site and the evenings to the othe rNyatemba site. Now, the community is learning that they can rely on the system for water.

The community understands that Nyatembe water is cleaner and more convenient. Though some people say it tastes saltier than the lake water for drinking. It may take time and education to reassure people that the water is in fact better for drinking. Regardless, the 20 or so people waiting for water when I pass by the roadside in the morning are evidence enough that people are using the system now for a myriad of uses. Most importantly, during the dry season the lake water has become saturated with dense green growth and is difficult to filter. Rainwater systems are now empty as we have not had a good rain in at least a month. It is the Nyatemba system that is making it easier for families to find clean water without walking for hours. In addition, I have noticed new restaurants opening up by the lake. One restaurant owner told me she gets her water for serving tea at Nyatemba on her way to work in the morning. It makes me much more willing to stop there for tea or a glass of cold water knowing that it will not make me sick.

As for the Nyatemba system itself, the pump is running great. Every week or so, I hear the rumble of the generator. It reminds everyone that water is coming from directly below and they won’t have to walk far to get it. We are still waiting for the committee to fence in the area, but there is a farmer down by the pump who takes it upon herself to check that everything is secure. She started a small vegetable garden by the borehole and hopes that she will be enjoying kale from it soon. It is amazing to observe everything that can grow with a little clean water, from kale to small businesses.

From everyone in Luanda,

Hero Camano (Thank you)!!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Luzmaria permalink
    March 5, 2013 2:15 PM

    Wonderful story! This is just an example of what the generosity of Rotarians can accomplish. Thank you EWB and Janet for keeping us posted.

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