Monday, January 14, 2019

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

On Thursday, Team Idunda (me, Keane, Laura, Ian, and leader Ken) stayed at Lutangilo School for the night. Shortly after the rest of our group left, we were given an African pop dance lesson from Shimmy, one of the University of Iringa students who traveled with us. We were also able to get a more detailed tour of the school, insight on the daily lives of the students, and how the water system, which was designed by former program students, has improved their lives.
On Thursday, Team Idunda (me, Keane, Laura, Ian, and leader Ken) stayed at Lutangilo School for the night. Shortly after the rest of our group left, we were given an African pop dance lesson from Shimmy, one of the University of Iringa students who traveled with us. We were also able to get a more detailed tour of the school, insight on the daily lives of the students, and how the water system, which was designed by former program students, has improved their lives.

On Friday morning, we drove to Idunda and immediately realized the roads to our village were not good. We had to abandon one of the Land Rovers because we got stuck in a ditch and damaged the bottom of the car when pulling it out.


When we arrived, we began speaking with the pastor and village chairpeople to determine some important basic information about the village. We visited the primary school where all the kids greeted us and were ecstatic to see "wazungu" (white people). We also trekked to some of the current village water sources and collected samples to test for the presence of coliform and E coli. We very quickly realized that Idunda would present many challenges due to the mountainous terrain and sparse distribution of houses.



Saturday was another busy day of collecting water samples and village data, and beginning to think of options for our system design. A meeting with the village water committee helped us determine that the primary priority for the village was to get water access to the primary school. This was an appropriate priority since our water test results suggested coliform bacteria issues in all the current water sources, but especially high coliform bacteria counts in the water source that the students are currently using.


The option of a borehole was eliminated since the equipment to dig in a borehole in the rocky soil would not be able to make it to Idunda given the quality of the roads. Therefore, we are thinking of collecting water from a relatively clean stream source and pumping it to a higher elevation to provide access to the primary school and gravity feed it to the proposed medical dispensary. However, several project phases would be needed to provide full access to water for all the villagers.

On Sunday we were asked to sing (primarily in Swahili) and dance during the church service. We thanked our gracious hosts with some gifts and then we were back on our way to Iringa to share our stories with the other groups. We had many adventures this weekend, learned a lot about the village, and especially enjoyed the people in our village, so we hope that we can help them with our design.


--
Alisha R.

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