Making Progress by Julia Ni

Habari friends! It’s been an exciting two days for our team here in Isibania.

Roman, our fundi, and the other workers finished laying the concrete tank foundation today. Just four days ago our 87 square feet foundation was still a dirt pit one foot deep. Since then the void has been filled with hardcore, murram and now a layer of concrete so that our foundation forms a platform one foot off the ground on the north side. This is a big progress step for us and we’re very happy that construction has stayed ahead of schedule.

On the roof, the gutter clips are up and Boniface is now in the process of hanging the gutters. We discovered that one part of the roof on the North side of the building sloped away from where we originally intended to attach our downspout. This means that if we followed our original design and attached the gutters symmetrically on this side we would be losing the rainwater collected from this part of the roof. As a result, we changed our design and moved our downspout three meters to accommodate this irregularity.

On Thursday, members of our team visited a school in Nyborongo that had reached out for our assistance. Nyborongo Primary School is about a 10 minute drive from Muchebe. The school has two rainwater catchment systems that are in bad shape. On one, the spout was missing and the other was not attached to the gutters on the roof by a pipe. There is also a church adjacent to the school that community members proposed we use to build a new system. We’re very happy to see that members of the Nyborongo community took the initiative to reach out to us as we are in the process of finding a new community to partner with for our next project. Upon visiting however, we discovered that Nyborongo is similarly suffering from a financial crisis after the exit of Alliance One from the area. We’re worried that the community would be too stressed to make the necessary commitment on their part for the project to go forward.

We called a meeting for Friday at 2 p.m. so that the community can come together and iron out some issues they have had with the old system and make arrangements for maintenance of the new system. Unfortunately, after seeing few community members show up we were informed that there was a funeral in Muchebe that afternoon. Out of respect, we postponed the meeting until next Friday after sharing our thoughts with the villagers in attendance. The day came to an eventful end as we were terrorized by a feisty rooster. Fingers crossed that everything works out next week!

When we got back from Muchebe that day, the team was excited to find that the power was back on at Border Point Lodge after a long outage. Nothing could make us happier than warm showers!

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