Conclusion of Medina Njama Pump Repair Project – The Gambia

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Wells Brown. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was to repair the hand-pump in Medina Njama.

Wells reports:

I am pleased to announce that pump work for the Medina Njama project is finished and it was a total success!! After dismantling and removing the entire system, including all 21 meters of piping, we replaced the bearings, chains, end cap, end tube, springs, rod guides and hardware, resulting in what you would think was a brand new pump.

In the past it would take upwards of 15 minutes of hard pumping to properly prime the system, allowing for a consistent flow of water. Now, however, it only takes 30 seconds to achieve the same water flow. With the replacement of all of these parts we were able to create much smoother motion throughout the entire system allowing for easier pumping, while also establishing a much stronger vacuum in the cylinder to bring the water up to the tap more efficiently. All said and done the maintenance was a complete and total success.

As for the effect this has had on the village — the women and children (primary water fetchers) could not be happier! One week after the maintenance was completed I went back to do some follow up work, picture taking, and discussion, and was greeted by an empty pump, a chorus of thank you, and prayers for all who helped to contribute money towards their project. They truly feel as though a burden has been lifted from their shoulders. And, what I think to be the most telling aspect of the projects success was that the pump was deserted when I arrived, unlike two weeks ago when women and children had to fetch water into the heat of the day. Now, the pump works so well that everyone was able to fetch their share of water before the morning was through. And, when I asked if the work was easier, or more enjoyable as they say, I was told by one girl:

“Now I can fetch my water so quickly that I am able to help my mother in the garden. My mother can now have lunch with us in the compound. I do not have to walk there when the sun is hot to bring the lunch.”
-Amie Jobe

What Amie means is that because she is able to finish her water fetching duties early enough to go and help her mother in the garden she no longer has to carry a hot food bowl on her head all the way out to the mother’s garden, 3 kilometers away in a bolong, in the middle of the afternoon. Conversely, the mother is able to finish in time to come home and rest in her compound with her family over the lunch hours.

The maintenance of the Medina Njama pump has truly had a profound effect on the villager’s everyday life. During the physical maintenance of the pump many of the young men came out to give a helping hand with the labor, including the village Alkaloo (chief). All hands were truly on deck for this task, whether it was physical help, keeping the laborers happy with mangoes and attaya tea, or just handing out cups of water. The village of Medina Njama could not be any more grateful.

We wish to express our gratitude to Wells for completing this project, and to The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust for providing the funding.