Conclusion of Citdo Orphanage Rainwater Catchment Project – Kenya
This project was to construct a rainwater catchment system to provide water for the orphanage.
Once we started buying the materials, it was clear that this would be more difficult than I imagined. The price of tanks had gone up in one store in the two weeks since I had been there last. But fortunately we found a bigger tank at another store for the same price.
We also looked over the building one last time and realized that due to some recent repairs to the roof, there was no longer a face board to attach the gutter clips to. We added some wood to the list of materials. We waited to get the tank last, and of course the store had failed to mention that the tap for the tank was an additional fee.
I should have known better, but really what use is a 4,200 liter tank without a way to access the water inside? The hardware store also informed us that the cost of the gutters they gave us was only for the gutter pieces that are open on both ends. The pieces with the hole for a down-spout, or closed on one end are more expensive. I learned to get information about every tiny detail.
We finally got all the materials and started work on building the concrete base for the tank. The group had gathered some bigger stones and ballast (small stones) to strengthen the concrete, and with the two group members and myself we were able to shape a round base quite quickly.
Then as we prepared to get the gutters up, the group made us githeri (boiled maize and beans) on the days we were working. The children would come out from their lessons when they got breaks to watch us work. I was happy that I was able to help, and not just be the mzungu (foreigner) that brought in materials and paid for someone else to do the work. I hope I set a good example for the kids.
As the gutters went up, things were looking good. The group member, Peter, who had helped build the concrete base was commenting on how much the tank will help, since water is such a problem in the area. Then he asked if I could put one up at his farm. I told him that I wish I could, but we can help more people when we put the tanks in public places so that many people could use it. “I have a big family though,” he said.
As I talked to the project coordinator of CITDO about the project, he said that many group members were asking if they could get tanks put at their houses. I am happy to hear the eagerness about rain catchment. I think at least they have a goal to use their IGA (income generating activity) funds towards. I found a book about how to build a concrete water tank with inexpensive local materials that might be more appropriate for home use that I will bring up at their next meeting.
The short rains have already started and the tank is slowly filling up. A few branches full of thorns stand guard at the tap to discourage any theft.
The kids have one more reason to continue to come to school, and with the sanitation training I gave them, they will avoid having diarrhea diseases that keep them out of school. With this path to a higher education, I have every confidence that these kids have a better chance at pursuing their dreams and goals.
Nikolaus reports on how the tank was received:
The school invited me for a ceremony to appreciate the efforts and the new tank and gutters.
The children are proud to have the tank at their school, and happy that they can have water during class without worry.
They want to thank Appropriate Projects and the donor for making it possible. The benefits will be long standing with this project.
We, in turn wish to thank Nikolaus for implementing this great project, and for sharing with us the ups and downs of bringing it to completion.
We also want to again thank Marcia Wijngaarden, of Rotterdam, Netherlands, with the help of friends and family of PCV Nikolaus Schuetz, for providing the funding for the project.