Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Going with the flow

The disgusting state of the muddy hole/run-off water
As part of our ongoing S.W.A.S.H. project in Januari, this Wednesday, those interns who were not away on a the bio-dynamic farming course (more to come on the blog soon), gathered to take on the so-called water gutter problem that is being faced by the village. 

The problem: The used run-off water that is guttered along the side of the street (mainly from the kitchens and showers of peoples homes) had become stuck in front of the Boy's Middle School, due to a muddy hole that had formed in the street. This, combined with trash flushed in by the rain, coupled with the extreme heat, had led to this disgusting patch that the school kids had to confront on a daily basis - both aurally and visually.

Additionally, this area had become a more problematic issue for the whole village at large. Not only had the area become aesthetically unappealing, but now the stagnant water that had formed was slowly seeping into the ground, which is one of main causes of the bad ground water quality, the water that people drink and use to irrigate their farmland - a real issue for concern!

Appoline and Annette picking up the trash
What happened: The days work started with the ladies bravely taking on the dirty job of cleaning out the water gutter, and ridding it of all the trash that had been thrown carelessly into the area. Meanwhile, simultaneously, the men dug out the canal on the other side of the road, to make it ready for the plumbing of the pipe under the road that had become blocked over the years with trash and sludge. 

There was plenty of support from the locals
Right from the start the interns experienced a lot of community support, which was fantastic for us! To see that the community were interested and willing to help was really nice. We had up to four community members helping at one time - support that was very welcome on such a hot day!!

The all-important plumbing - with bamboo!
After the plumbing was done, we needed to rebuild the original canal in the water gutter section of the project and then level the rest of the hole. After moderate success using the leveler (a cricket pitch roller), it was clear, that the leveling could not be finished, as the ground was still too wet under the layer of dry mud and sand that all the interns had dug up. This particular part of the project, the leveling, will be continued during the next week by the S.W.A.S.H. team members in Janauri, as the land will dry out and become more stable.

Leveling out the area with sand, mud, and feet!
Yet, having everybody thinking that the work was done, the project manager for the day, Manuel, happened to have his heart set on the idea of moving the extremely heavy concrete pipes. His desire, to use them to protect the new canal we had dug-out from preventing trash from gathering their again. 

Despite the fact we were all tired, after another hour of hard and sweaty work, the first part of the canal was successfully covered by one of the big concrete pipes - a great success. Covering the canal properly will now prevent the water from future blockages due to trash, mud and plants that had previously caused flow issues.

The new canal, a job well done!!
Pipe down - the new drainage system in place
From the side of the S.W.A.S.H. project team in Janauri it has to said: Thanks for the great support from the interns in Adampur and Dosarka for helping out with what was a very hard, very hot and dirty days work.