Conclusion of 52 Pumps in 52 Weeks – Senegal – Project 11 – Thiawando
This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteers Marcie Todd and Garrison Harward. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.
After a long break I was excited to get back to installing pumps. This was my 6th install, and going in I finally felt like I had worked out all the kinks, and that I knew the system and things would just go smoothly as well. They did!
This was by far the easiest and most successful install yet for the Kaolack side of this project. We started out at the beginning of the week with the well cap as usual and quickly discovered that beyond just being motivated in terms of work, this village is quite creative.
We finished pouring the cement and mentioned that it might be nice to decorate the cap with some of the extra red and white stones. The men helping us took this idea and ran with it. They made a pattern around the outside alternating the colors and then wrote out Alhamdoulilahi (grace be to god) and made two crescent and star Islamic symbols on either side. They were quite proud of their work.
Unfortunately we finished a little late in the day and it looked like a pretty big storm was on the way. Not wanting their beautiful craftsmanship to be washed away, the men quickly ran out into the fields to cut tall grass which they arranged over the cap to protect it from the rain. This ingenious solution worked like a charm. Apart from a few minor raindrop indentations the cap cured nicely.
At the end of the week we came back to do the install and unfortunately it was not raining. In Senegal when humidity reaches 100% and the sun beats down at close to 100 degrees, people don’t work. We were on a schedule however so we got to it.
We installed the cap, fed the rope through the pipe and then lowered everything down. This well turned out to have several lips where it got narrower below the water line, but since we couldn’t see this we were having trouble knowing if we were really on the bottom. Never fear though, on a hot day such as this there was no shortage of volunteers ready and willing to go down into the well to check.
Once assured we were on the bottom we finished the install and started cranking. The kids ran up to play in the water, while the adults who had previously been somewhat skeptical looked in wide-eyed amazement and immediately started praising our work. One man walked up to me shook my hand and said “May god give you the strength to install these pumps all over Senegal.”
Satisfied but very tired we went back to C.J.’s compound (The PCV in Thiawando) for lunch and a nap. Not more than two hours later a man from the next village came by because he had seen the pump and wanted to know how he could get one for his own village. He was just about ready to schedule the date right then, but I told him to wait and see how people like this pump before we make a decision. Looks like I might be back in this region very soon.
This large community with only two wells has never had easy access to fresh water. With this new source they are already discussing possibilities for starting a community garden and fruit tree nursery. Based on what I’ve seen here they certainly have the motivation and dedication to get the job done. This is just the start of many good things to come in Thiawando.
Pump Output: 26 Liters/ Min
Total Number of People Benefiting: 800
Funder: Susan Smith