Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Water Aid Travel Day
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Last night I fell asleep quickly but awoke at 3 AM, never going back to sleep. I could have nodded off about 5 or so, but since I had to get up at 6 I knew I would never wake up at the appointed time. I was coming down with Jim’s cold last night, but was hoping to feel okay today. I thought about staying home but also thought I shouldn’t be such a baby. The Water Aid driver was on time so we departed at 7 AM. It was raining fairly heavily and I began to feel worse. I devised a way to go back without having them turn around. I knew that the Royal Grand Hotel was near to where the Wollenzien’s live and it was also right ahead of where we were going and on the main road. We called the Wollenzien’s and they didn’t answer. They decided to drive me back. I felt really bad because the traffic even at that hour was heavy and in the rain it was very slow going. But they didn’t complain and took me back without making me feel bad. I was so relieved. I slept, washed lots of clothes, read, watched TV and slept some more. I felt lousy all day so I was glad to be at the hotel. I never left my room, even having them bring my lunch to me.
When I heard Jim’s report of the long jaunt of the day, I was so glad I didn’t go, and he said it wasn’t all that bad getting out of town and on their way. He also said that the car was very full with other people joining them, so maybe they were glad to get rid of me! All I know is that they were very unruffled about it—very kind.
They drove a couple of hours to get to the offices of another NGO that would be the implementing partner for Water Aid. The further they went the worse the conditions got in the rain so they stayed in 4-wheel drive. They introduced each other at the offices of SLPP (Sustainable Livelihood Promotion Programme). Water Aid has worked with them before and feel that they do a good job. They are using another group for the other area that they want to work in; it is a group that was recommended but one that they had not used themselves yet. They are located in the other part of the project, going in the opposite direction, in Montserrado County. There they are using PHIL (Public Health Initiative) because they work in that area.
The offices of SLPP in Gbarpolu County, an implementing partner of Water Aid.
They drove out to see two schools where this group had built latrines with water stations and hand pumps. There was a community in the distance that they say will also benefit from the hand pump. Water Aid likes to work in remote areas that are hard to get to and watch—I think these schools were another 20-30 minutes away from their base, a doable distance for monitoring a project.
The latrine block for the school; 4 stalls for the boys and 3 for the girls—what? Isn’t this backwards? Some of the doors stuck because they had swollen—if not fixed the locks will be broken in the first week. The concrete work was pretty good. It is a vented septic and latrine system—nice. They have pictures on the building to remind the children to wash their hands at those 2 round concrete water containers. They will bring the water from the well to wash with and a larger bucket and then smaller one to flush with.
The construction was okay on the latrines and hand pumps, even though there were still a few typical construction problems with the latrine doors. No matter who does the work, it is still going to be with local standards and not ours. But the concrete work both on the latrines and pump were good, at least they look that way now—since they have just been completed and are not being used, they look nice. Their well fences were of bamboo, but beautifully done.
A decent design for the toilet.
They went to lunch at an African place, so Jim bought a soda and some crackers/cookies from the local people. They are so cheap (about 20 cents) that he bought some, ate some, bought some more, and gave them back to the kids around there including the girl that sold them to him. He said you would have thought it was Christmas by how excited they got. This never gets old…
I like this fence that they built around the entire well, including the soak away.
This was the poorer of the two schools. There are weeds growing in the dirt and some rocks here and there. It reminds me of a school we worked on while in Kenya, except the Kenya school was even worse than this one.
Love, from my room at the Palm Spring