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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Thank you to everyone! We raised about $2,000 at our silent auction!
We raised about $800 from UNH Best Dance Crew!!
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!
Five members of the group headed to New York City for a long weekend to attend the EWB North East Regional Conference.