Monday, January 14, 2019

Days 8-10: Team Wangama: Off to work in the village of Wangama

On Friday we sent the other group off to Ugesa, wishing each other good luck. We then spent the rest of the morning gathering water and fruits for our time in Wangama. After a delicious lunch at the Greek Club, we set off in the coaster.
On Friday we sent the other group off to Ugesa, wishing each other good luck. We then spent the rest of the morning gathering water and fruits for our time in Wangama. After a delicious lunch at the Greek Club, we set off in the coaster. Wangama was the closest village to the Lutheran Center, our base camp in Iringa. It took us less than an hour to reach the village center where we were greeted by the women dancing and singing. We made our introductions and were introduced to the village executives and water committee.

Shortly afterwards, we had our first meeting with the water committee, where we were able to jump right in with all our questions and learn about the existing water sources and surrounding sub-villages. Hanael and Agnes, our St. Paul Partners representative and student from the University of Iringa, were a huge help with translating our questions and helping us understand the culture. We learned that the village consists of six sub-villages with a total of of 1,062 people, a primary school, and a dispensary.

Their current water sources consist of three shallow wells and a deep borehole with hand pumps, as well as a ram pump system that distributes river water. It turned out that half of the hand pumps were broken and people dug their own shallow wells to get water. After our meeting, we shared a meal of traditional Tanzanian food with the village executives. David, a local resident, then brought us back to his camp just outside the village, where we stayed for the night. The village was very poor and unable to accommodate our group of 12, so we were very thankful David provided us a place to stay.

The camp was on the other side of the river which only has one bridge basically back in Iringa. Instead of driving all the way back to cross the bridge, we flew across with our luggage. Once we were settled into the camp, we had a meeting with David and learned a lot more information about the village and existing water systems. He found some shapefiles on Google Earth, mapping out the village and the pipe line delivering river water.

The next morning we had breakfast at the camp, packed a lunch, and headed back to village to see the ram pump with David. David and a villager tried to start up the ram pump for us, but the seal was leaking so it was not able to build up pressure for it to function properly. We sampled the water and headed to the village office. From there we said goodbye to David for the day and met the Pastor. One of the village executives and the Pastor gave us a tour of the rest of the village and showed us each of the the hand pumps and existing distribution points from the ram pump. We tested each of the sources we were able to get water from, and all of them tested positive for coliform and most of them tested positive for E. coli.

Along the way everyone was handing out candy and gifts to the kids who were in awe by us the "wazungu" (wanderers; foreigners). At the school, Marines (of of the guys in our group) pulled out some bubbles and the kids laughed and ran around trying to pop them. There was a big storage tank at the village office that we measured using creative methods. Kyle and Dallas climbed to the top of the tank and measured the depth and diameter using strips of duct tape. We took a late lunch break and headed back to camp to debrief.

The following morning, we packed and headed back to the village for a church service. The church was very small and only had about 10 members, but based on their singing you would think there was 50 of them. Our group even sang a song for the congregation in Kiswahili. Afterwards, lots more candy and gifts were given to the kids. Dallas brought out his guitar and played a few songs for the villagers and we all sang along. We headed back to the village office for one last meeting with the water committee to ask final questions. Hanael then "laid down the law" ensuring they understood the new system would be theirs and they would have to pay for the water rights and to maintain it.

On Monday, we will spend most of the day working on developing our design and preparing a preliminary presentation.

Melissa F.


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