Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Project Update: Ekatsombero Rainwater Catchment System

Above: Team member Matt Rine teaches schoolchildren American phrases.

Ryan Olff

Just a quick update on the rainwater catchment and filtration system at Ekatsombero primary school. After a month of hard work, problem solving, and minor issues with construction, I am glad to say that the rainwater catchment system is getting closer to completion. Watching the 16,000 liter tank lowered into a 15 foot deep hole in the ground was something else considering Kenyan construction and engineering techniques. The process took nearly five hours and was quite entertaining.

The last few parts and pieces were delivered yesterday by Haikal Investments, the contractor working with us on the project. The delivery included the last few PVC parts needed to finish up the plumbing from the 5000 Liter tanks into the sand filter, which will then filter the water into the 16,000 Liter holding tank. They also supplied us with PVC gutters and began to install the pump so that concrete can be poured.

It has been a challenge coming to a new place, getting used to “Kenyan time,” learning a whole new system for construction, and being thrown into a project manager position my first time here. It seems like the trip has been too short, and I can’t help feeling like I haven’t made enough progress while working here at Ekatsombero. There is still a lot to be accomplished, but over the last week of my stay, a lot of the remaining parts have been purchased and construction can resume. Currently, we’re hoping that the project can be finished by the end of August.

I wish I could have seen things finished personally, but with the inevitable minor setbacks, this being EWB’s first-ever rainwater catchment system, we’ve found ourselves forced to learn by making mistakes as we go. All I can do now is be positive and leave Matt Smith, who will be staying in Kenya into the fall, with the necessary information to complete the project on time.


Anonymous said...

The rainwater catchment system is an incredible feat! Great work all of you. Keep it up. The blog posts are fantastic.

Tracy Ellig
MSU News Service

Anonymous said...

Intersting... I wonder if the rainwater here in the US is safe to drink or if you would need something like an inlet filter?