Saturday, August 21, 2010

BACK IN NDANDINI FOR ANOTHER WEEK (AUG 20,2010)

So here it is, only six weeks after returning from Kenya where we oversaw the successful drilling of the borehole in Ndandini Village.  And now we're taking those two long flights again to return to Kenya.

After about 18 hours in the air and an overnight in Amsterdam between flights, we arrived to a surprisingly chilly evening.  Very strange to have left home in British Columbia where the daytime temperatures were in the 30+C range to arrive in Kenya to "refreshing" weather.  We hoped to get a good sleep (which did not happen overnight in Amsterdam) but the 10 hour time zone change takes some adjusting and it seems that it is most noticeable when you try to sleep and your body thinks is mid-morning - so another restless, almost sleepless night.

We knew the routine so had planned for a rest day in Nairobi before we headed out:  Jan to lead a group of ladies from BC on a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, and Terry to go to Ndandini Village to oversee the almost final things to do for the water project.  Trouble with a rest day in Nairobi is that there are too many things to see and do.  So for our rest day we left the hotel at 9am and didn't get back until 9pm!  Everyone really enjoyed our visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the Giraffe Centre and Kazuri Beads.  The Daphne Sheldrick charitable organization does fantastic elephant rescue work for baby elephants who lose their mothers due to poaching, or by perhaps falling into a well and becoming separated from their mother.



The Giraffe Centre, also a charitable organization, works to help restore the rare Rothschild giraffe population as well as teaching young Kenyans about the importance of wildlife preservation.

At Kazuri Beads, this charity employs almost 350 women, mostly single mothers, in making beautiful beads from scratch which are then made into earrings, bracelets and necklaces - most of which are now exported.

Friday morning came very early with Jan and the group of ladies heading off to the airport at 7am to fly to the Kilimanjaro airport.  Terry headed out at 7:30 for the "exciting" (as in dangerous) drive to Ndandini.  The large speeding trucks heading for Mombassa on the narrow roads which are in very bad shape with huge sections of pavement totally missing and everyone weaving around to miss the holes and each other!

Terry was very anxious to get to Ndandini.  This has been a very active week at the village with many exciting things happening.

Last Friday (August 13) our Project Manager Duncan picked up the Amiran Farmer's Kit drip-irrigation greenhouse and garden package and accompanied it to Ndandini.  The technician from Amiran arrived late Saturday and construction began in earnest on Sunday at the Ndandini Primary School.  Everyone was so excited.  During the course of erecting the greenhouse, Duncan was helped by the assistant head master of the school who turns out to have a degree in Agriculture!  Needless to say, he was very interested in the project.  Needless to say, we are very glad to have his interest and knowledge!


The 8x15 metre greenhouse and outside irrigated garden were complete by Thursday - just in time for the arrival of the installation team from Davis & Shirtliff where we purchased the pump and generator.

Everything for the installation went according to plan.  The plan also being to have Terry arrive around noon on Friday to oversee the completion of the installation and the start of test pumping of water from the well into the three large storage tanks.

We are very pleased to report that the pump does pump almost 19,000 litres of water an hour - that's 300 litres per minute.  And when we connected the pump to the pipes that lead to the three 16,000 litre tanks, we completely filled all the tanks in 2 hours and 40 minutes.  The kids were so excited to see the water pouring out of the overflow pipes at the top of the tanks - they just wanted to stand under it - no doubt their first-ever "shower".  The only person more excited was Terry!


It's hard to tell you what a flow of 300 litres a minute looks like.  Just think about a fire hydrant being open and you are close.

Today we did a test.  We took a 20 litre jerry can and filled it from the shallow well using the hand pump.  That took 60 seconds of hard pumping.  Then we walked over to the water distribution kiosk which has 4 taps.  We opened the tap and filled that same 20 litre jerry can in only 20 seconds.  So if we have all four taps in operation, we could fill 12 jerry cans every minute.


Now its time to work with the Ndandini Water Project Management Committee on getting the water system into meaningful operation.  That means setting up procedures for operating the generator, setting up procedures for recording water usage and collecting the money for the water that is put in the jerry cans, and getting the proper people to work at the well.  These are significant times and these essential things must be done successfully if the well is to operate on a sustainable basis.  We hope that Terry's time at the village this week will be well spent.

As part of the pump and generator installation, we have also installed the village's first solar system.  The solar panels are installed on the roof of the water distribution kiosk and power a light at the site and enable us to offer cell phone recharging services.  People in Kenya pay 20 Ksh (about 30 cents) to have their battery recharged.  Money raised in this manner will go towards the operating costs of the well (for things like buying diesel fuel).  We can also use the power to charge laptop computers so for the first time it is now possible to consider having a computer here in the village.




Speaking of diesel fuel - the generator consumes about 4 litres of diesel per hour.  So to completely fill the tanks with 48,000 litres of water we consumed less than 10 litres of diesel at a cost of about 80 Ksh/litre (about $12.)  So the cost of diesel fuel is about 1/3 of a shilling per 20 litre jerry can (about half a cent).

Stay tuned to the blog - we will have lots more to report as the week progresses.

We will be returning to Nairobi next Thursday in time to attend the Nairobi Industrial Area Rotary Club to report on the success of the project - and to thank them for believing that we could successfully do this project and for becoming our host Rotary Club.

Terry



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