We wanted to repost an article we wrote for hometalk as we will be venturing this January to another needy community this time in Buikwe, Uganda, Africa to install a 25,000g. Rainwater Harvesting System...
January 2015: In Kanuwloe it is harmattan the season where the sky is overcast as sands of the Sahara are swept across the sky and into the Atlantic Ocean. A hot and humid African sun beat down on the winding clay path as we entered the small village of Kanulwoe (pronounced can-ooo-lee), in the Tongu district, Volta Region of Ghana. Small thatched huts of brown-red clay and sticks cluster together beneath the towering branches of the baobab trees. An elderly woman sat with mortar and pestle pounding cassava into flour, a man whittled sticks into axe handles and insects hummed in the afternoon sun; these comprised the rhythm to which all village life was set. As we walked through the village part of me longed for this simpler way of life. Looking under the surface however you quickly see simple living made complex by a lack of necessity: water. We wound our way through small flowering trees, huts and bushes to find ourselves in a meadow. A giant baobab stood centennial watching all that came and went. Cactus lined the path, and the field full of white starlike bog lilies, gave way to tall rushes as we neared the waterhole. The hard clay path turned to softer marsh soil hard enough still to bear the weight of a man. As we walked through the marsh we came at last to the village water source: a mostly dried, light coffee colored, stagnant puddle full of cattle prints. It is barely conceivable that someone would drink this water. Child mortality is high, water borne parasites, and illness rampant causing malnourishment, chronic headaches, diarrhea and blindness. Having seen this water source personally my mind still cannot grasp the full implications of depending on such pollution for life.
After three attempts to bore for water: a standard bore, a wider bore, a deeper bore efforts were abandoned and the Aquascape Foundation was contacted to construct a rainwater harvesting system. Water is collected via rain gutters from the new metal roof on the school. Every inch of rain produces 5,000 gallons of water. Water goes through a first flush filter that takes out the larger sediments and into a holding chamber. When needed it is pumped via solar powered pump to a purification system where it goes through micron filters and a UV sterilizer to a 750g. storage tank.
The rainwater harvesting system is the beginning of new life for this community. It was humbling to, with my husband Sean, be a part of the incredible team of 14 elite professionals from across the US and Canada asked to install it. I was moved by an elderly lady dressed in her finest traditional clothing walking with her cane. Though painfully difficult for her to walk she managed to sway to the tribal music celebrating the completion of the 25,000 gallon system, raise one hand to heaven and sing: HAL-le-LU-iA, HAL-le-LU-iA!!!