Updates

January 17, 2014:

The Uganda team is safe and headed home right now! Can’t wait to see everyone! Thank you Uganda!

January 14, 2014:

On Monday we met with the Gulu district officials including the engineer we met with earlier and the deputy of education. We gave them a proposal and also wrote up a MOU for them to sign. They ended up giving us some great advice and feedback on both documents.

This afternoon, at 2pm, we are meeting with the parents and teachers of St. Martin’s. We are also hoping to have CVI be represented at meetings with the school and community from now on so that they are on the same page and there are no misunderstandings between any parties. At 4pm we will be meeting with Andrew the district engineer to collect building guidelines for the district.

In other news on the water project, we had the final meeting with the water committees this morning at 10 am. We still have one more well to disinfect after letting the samples develop a little longer. The disinfection will be done tonight when it is cooler out. We will also be building our third and last fence at Laluwanga well in Lukodi on Wednesday morning at 9am. The caretaker of the well assured us that the posts will be in place where we marked out and they will just be waiting on the barbed wire and nails.  -Amy

January 13, 2014:

Hi all. We just met with Gulu District in an effort to get permission to further pursue our future project. It was a brief but very good meeting with some very key officials in Gulu. Hope everyone is doing well and staying warm. -Ian

January 11, 2014:

We have disinfected 2 wells and plan to disinfect 1 more before heading home. Only 1 tested positive for fecal coliforms which was never disinfected on previous trips. We have also constructed 2 fences with posts and barbed wire that look fantastic and got the whole community involved. We also went over the maintenance plan with them and they will hopefully continue to keep the borehole well maintained now that they have a plan. We will be building another fence on Wednesday too. We will close out the implementation with a final meeting with the water boards on Tuesday and will get all the questions answered to fill out our post implementation report.
As for the new project plans, we surveyed 6 schools in the area: a nursery, 4 primary schools, and 1 secondary school. After taking many, many factors into consideration we chose a school called St. Martins which is only 6 km from the CVI center we are staying at and 15 km from Gulu. Government and EWB permitted, we would like to construct teacher housing for 2 families for our project. Right now many of the teachers are commuting from Gulu and spend a large portion of their salary on transportation. Sometimes the teachers can’t even make it to school and can only make 3 out of 5 days a week. At first we had a hard time seeing teacher housing as a priority but after talking to the Gulu district engineer and hearing that the governments top priority is teacher housing in remote places we see how important it is. We have begun taking measurements for new teacher housing and will be presenting rough plans and a proposal to a group of district engineering officials at a meeting on Monday.
-Amy

January 10, 2014:

Everything is going great in Lukodi. Yesterday, we oversaw the
construction of two borehole fences and implemented our education plan at those two boreholes. We also sampled all of the boreholes. Last night we incubated the samples and we should have the results by tomorrow. Today we are working at two other boreholes building fences and teaching our maintenance plan. We are also visiting a few more schools and the district engineer to get permission to perform a project at a government run school.
Hope everyone is doing well at home. -Ian

January 8, 2014:

We ended up leaving at 9:30 am because Professor Ballestero and Ian were still fast asleep when Meg, Amy, Paige and I enjoyed a nice breakfast of some watermelon, pineapple, plantain and toast and jelly. The trip up to Gulu was long and a little warm. When you think of off-roading, that paints a great picture of most of the drive. The 8 hour drive was a very bumpy and pothole filled ride. We stopped half way for a soda and to stretch our legs. Being here in the dry season has its downsides. Anytime a truck would drive past us, we would have to close the windows so the dirt and dust wouldn’t get inside. We arrived in Gulu around 5 pm, Uganda Time, and made a pit stop at a gas station and then started the 20 minute drive to Lukodi. We pulled up and were immediately greeted with a song from the women, girls and children at the CVI center. Amy was the first out of the car and quickly made a new friend, named Daniel. He was about 2 years old and along with the rest of the children wanted to play around with us before dinner. Dinner consisted of brown rice and beans. Although simple, it was very good and after a day of travel like we had, a full meal was just what everyone needed. After a good nights sleep in the huts, we woke up, had a nice breakfast of toast, and met with the Water Committees to discuss well pump maintenance, testing and treatment. We have scheduled meetings for the rest of this week and hope they go as planned.
We are in Gulu now exchanging some money for the rest of the week and plan on doing a few purchases. Hope everyone is having a great time in the US! -Charlotte

January 7, 2014:

So we made it safely. The flights were long but not bad. They had tv on demand so I watched some New Girl everyone else watched some movies. The food was pretty bad haha but I had lots of snacks in my backpack. We got into Entebbe late last night (the visa line was wicked slow and took an hour) and drove to Kampala to the hotel for the night. By the time we got to the hotel it was around 12:30 am. Today we are leaving at 9 am to drive for around 6 hours to Gulu and Lukodi! When we get there we will settle in and get acquainted with everyone. Then we will all meet up as a group and discuss what we are doing the next day. I doubt we will have time for much more but we will see! -Meg

May 26, 2013:

Over the past few days we have really gotten into the meat of our project. We sampled all of the boreholes in Lukodi with about 50% of them showing signs of contamination. This was what we had expected. We also found some great news and a sign of success for our project. The Market Borehole, the one that we had shock chlorinated last year was clean and the pump which had broken a few months after we left had been repaired by the government. Also the area being used as a latrine close by to this borehole was no longer being used for that purpose. We shock chlorinated 3 boreholes yesterday and had some great talks with the people by the boreholes about how they should construct fences around them to prevent future contamination. We have a few more wells to shock and then all of the boreholes in Lukodi should be safe to drink. The people were very thankful for our work. We have found an India Mark II supplier and are going to purchase one in the next few days. When we were shocking one of the boreholes we ran into this kid with a homemade toy who would make a great engineer.

An amazing child who would make a great engineer!

May 24, 2013:

Our first two days in Uganda were filled with numerous meetings. We arrived in Gulu around 9 am Tuesday morning and met with Nicholas at the CVI office. He arranged a meeting with the Lukodi water source committees and answered our questions about the that meeting. Then we walked around Gulu in search of pump vendors. We also located the contact information for a borehole repair company. Then Wednesday morning we were introduced to the Gulu district water official. We’re returning on Monday when he has more time to meet with us but he seemed very knowledgeable and aware of the water  issues in the region. We also visited with a few professors in water resources engineering, agricultural engineering, and microbiology at Gulu University. Our conversation with them was really interesting and a lot of ideas concerning water infrastructure in the area were discussed. Then in the afternoon we went to Lukodi to meet with the water source committees and other community members. The LC I was sick bit representatives from 5 of the boreholes were present. The meeting was really productive and we learned that the Ugandan government began an initiative to repair broken water sources around the country. Several of the pumps in Lukodi were reported to the sub-county and repaired by the district. This was a really great development. They also voiced a number of their concerns with their water – one well has very yellow water when it is first pumped in the morning, and another has shiny particles in it. We asked for and were given permission to test the boreholes and disinfect if necessary. We plan on sampling and testing over the next day and then begin to disinfect as needed.

June 7, 2012:

We are all home, safe and sound! The trip was so, so successful and so much fun for us all. The last few days were the safari at Merchansen Falls which was amazing and we saw so many animals! During the trip we were able to really get the communities support and encouragement. They are all so very thankful that we are there and that we want to help. They cannot wait for us to return, which will hopefully be in January.
-Written by Annie Sager

One of the very well working, well protected and clean wells we tested!
A giraffe on the safari!

June 3, 2012:

Thursday night Kayla, Dave, and Annie did all of the sample analyses while Dr. Ballestero pretended to supervise.  Reading samples in the dark with a black light is always a challenge.  Friday June 2 was a beautiful sunny day. Second day in a row with no rain…and this is the rainy season.  We started off the day meeting with Nicholas at CVI to plan out the day. Then we spent most of the morning driving around Gulu looking for the components necessary to disinfect a well.  Based on the test results, we will disinfect the Market well, a drilled and cased borehole, whose samples were positive for total coliform and e. coli well before the 24-hour incubation period expired.  We headed out to Lukodi following behind a van with the dancers from Fordham University who are staying at the guest house with us.  We then split off to visit the bead makers.  After that we met with 17 people on the local water committees.  The 2-hour meeting was extremely productive and they basically dictated a MOU for us.  Saturday June 3, we went into Gulu first thing in the morning to buy well disinfection supplies, then headed out to the Market well.  We spent 2 hours pumping the well and recirculating bleach and water back into it.  Water has a heavy iron color and particles.  We left reeking of chlorine.  However a small crowd of children had gathered around us, and our driver, Bosco, set up his phone to play music.  One of the local little girls danced to it while we pumped.
-Written by Dr. Ballestero

June 1, 2012:

Yesterday: Successful Day!  We met this morning with the Honorable chairperson of the district water committee.  Tomorrow We will be meeting with committee members at the local level.  Hopefully we can also meet with the district water official Sam Nyecko.  We returned to Lukodi for the afternoon to re-sample the water sources that were tested on the previous trip.  We will have results tomorrow!  We made friends with some of the Lukodi villagers who were very interested in what we were doing.  We also revisited some old friends at the primary school. We are happy to report the well which was broken before now works and enjoys the company of many happy customers.  More updates to come!
-Written by David Kurtz

May 31, 2012:

We arrived in Gulu yesterday afternoon, after a seven-hour adventurous drive.  We encountered many baboons and monkeys, crossed the Nile River, and saw the Karuma Falls off in the distance.
In Gulu, we checking into ChildVoice International’s main office. We arrived at the ChildVoice guesthouse down the street, and were greeted by other interns, volunteers, and local employees. They cooked us a delicious dinner, and after rigging up some mosquito netting, we went to bed to the sounds of a thunderstorm.
Today started with a trip to the ChildVoice office to work with local employee Nicholas to plan meetings for the week. We took our first trip to Lukodi since our visit last August.  After driving far into the bush, we found Okulo Gipson, the chairperson of LC1, the local council of Lukodi. He told us the needs of the community and what they would like help with; including clean drinking water, bridges, a health clinic, irrigation for crops, vocational training, education, and roads. It was a very successful meeting.
Then, we visited the new ChildVoice property. Bricks were being made, and many had already been made. The new buildings are laid out, and progressing wonderfully. The new bore hole pumped with ease.
We stopped at the pump store to get some information about the India pumps before we rehabilitate. A stop at a local craft shop brought music to our ears just before dinner.
-Written by Kayla Mineau

May 28, 2012:

Today, after a long 24 hours of travel, we arrived in Entebbe then drove to Kampala. It was great for David and I to see the capital for the first time. We knew the driving was different here, but it was fun to experience how Ugandans drive while in lots of traffic. We have a great driver who brought us to our hotel to check in and then to brought us to a great place for lunch. We then headed back to the hotel and took naps as we had been traveling for about 24 hours. We are now working on organizing some more of the trip to make sure we can be efficient as possible and get all of the information that EWB-USA wants us to have for our assessments. This really is a beautiful place with all of the valleys and hills and amazing how clean the roads are with all of the people present. We have internet at our hotel in Kampala and should have it in Gulu where we head tomorrow! Check back for updates as we begin to do more!
-Written by Annie Sager

May 22, 2012:

On Sunday, Tom Ballestero, David Kurtz, Kayla Mineau and Annie Sager head to Uganda for two weeks for a second assessment trip! Check back here for updates and pictures throughout the trip! Also, check out the twitter and facebook pages!

April 28, 2012:

Thank you to everyone! We raised about $2,000 at our silent auction!

April 25, 2012:

We raised about $800 from UNH Best Dance Crew!!

February 6, 2012:

The travel team for the May-June 2012 assessment trip to Uganda has been selected! Congratulations to Kayal Mineau, David Kurtz and Annie Sager who will be traveling with Dr. Ballestero to Africa for a week and a half this summer!

November 18-20, 2011:
Five members of the group headed to New York City for a long weekend to attend the EWB North East Regional Conference.

The group hit up the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on Sunday for lunch while waiting for their bus.
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