Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Evaluating water systems in Mlangali

The Mlangali group headed toward the Mgela region to check out the current water systems in the area. We discovered that most of the water came from muddy, hand-dug wells. After doing some testing and meeting with local water committees, we gathered information that will hopefully help us find solutions.
Friday afternoon, the Mlangali group left the ranch and headed toward the Mgela region northwest of Iringa.

After we were greeted at the pastor's house by Mlangali elders, we immediately went to work.

We learned that most of the water came from muddy, hand-dug wells. We saw a child arrive to collect water with two dogs, and he drank from the water after the dogs had jumped in. This scene was a profound experience for us and will remain imprinted in our minds as a strong motivation for us to improve the quality of the water.

Boy Drinking.jpg

We collected water samples from the various holes and began testing their depth. We also checked the depth of a borehole that was dug in a field in Mlangali a few years ago, which we hope to use in our design.

After lunch, we drove 4 miles to Luganga, another subvillage of Mgela, where they have a 25 HP pump that provides water from the river to the region when they can afford to pay for the diesel fuel. We collected water from these taps for testing and headed back to get settled in the pastor's house before the sunlight was gone.

We ate dinner and played music for the pastor and various guests at the house. Before heading to bed, we went outside to marvel at the countless stars, trying to recognize the constellations of the southern sky.

The next day started off with a bang. Literally. The rain pounded the metal roof, and the village bells were rung very early in the morning. We promptly got out of bed, ate breakfast, and hit the town.

We met with the water committee of Mgela for two hours to figure out as much as we could about the current water situation and what they would like to improve. They agreed their priorities were to supply water to the Mlangali subvillage (where the borehole is) and to the vocational and primary schools in Luganga.

Water Committee.JPG

We spend some time walking around Luganga, surveying the region and checking out the old hand pumps, which have either dried up or are no longer working.

After stopping for lunch in Mlangali, we continued on to Kitapalimwa. We rolled into town and stopped at the local government office, where we met with the water committee of Kitapalimwa. After explaining our purpose and asking more questions, we headed to the windmill. We took samples from the pump, and it seemed that the water was exceptionally clean.

By this time, the sun was setting and we headed back to the ranch for dinner. More crunchy tunes were played and another good night's sleep was had.

We woke up early for breakfast and put on our Sunday best for church. The service was three hours long, along with an hour-long auction and gathering afterwards. We can all say that this was one of the most profound experiences of our lives. Church was full of prayer, songs, and dance. Dallas and Thomas played music for the crowd as well.

Professor Strykowski won a chicken at the auction and gave it to an elderly woman who had a much greater need for it.

Church Group.JPG

We played with the children and said our goodbyes. We were thankful for the hospitality we were given and for being able to participate in such an important project. We hope we will be able to make an impact on the lives of the beautiful people of Mlangali.

Paul With Kids.JPG