This month, two representatives from First Rate Exchange Services, one of our new corporate partners, visited Uganda. Andrew Brown and Bhavin Chohan were accompanied by Just a Drop’s project engineer and Trustee Mike Reynolds and Trustee Chris Haworth, to see the recently completed project in Muyebe in south-western Uganda. The project involved renovating the community’s reservoir, pipe distribution network and storage tanks, providing clean water for up to 15,000 people. It was Andrew’s first trip to Africa and for both, a chance to see the difference that a clean water project can make for a community. They also managed to squeeze in a trip to get up-close-and-personal with some Mountain Gorillas… Here is their account of the trip:
The drive from the airport to our hotel in Kampala gave us our first experience of the chaotic driving that, whilst terrifying to start with simply becomes the norm after a few days. The hour long journey also provided us with an introduction to the state of the economy and the challenges faced by the people of this country – many live in shacks at the side of the road with no running water or basic sanitation facilities.
Day 2 the 8 hour drive to Kabale
The drive is only around 400km, however, the road is part new, part a work in progress and part pure dirt track! That said, we were travelling from one side of the country to the other, and passed mountains, drove across plains and around lakes and swamps, so the hours flew by!
Day 3 Visit the project in Muyebe
The village is only a short drive from Kabale followed by a trek. The work has taken around 14 weeks and included: the replacement of all the old and broken pipe work, repairs to the taps, the addition of some animal and sorghum troughs, improved drainage and runoff, as well as repairs to all the tanks that regulate the pressure in the system. This work has significantly increased the pressure in the gravity system , allowing for much needed taps which are being used by the local school, church and some more remote communities.
This all sounds simple and even basic, however, the difference it makes is almost instantaneous. It will reduce the risk of disease through easy access to clean water; and the separation of human and livestock water will avoid cross contamination and lessen the risk of creating mosquito breeding grounds.
For both myself and Bhavin, it was quite shocking to see that in a country as fertile as Uganda here in the 21st Century, people still don’t have access to what we’d consider essential services. But thanks to the project the hope for the future is that in years to come many more will benefit from ready access to a local, clean and safe water supply.
The water project has achieved a lot of success in the area and I was amazed to see that the pressure in each tap was the same, despite the distance of some of them from the original water source. The project has also ensured a reduction in the amount of stagnant on the surface, so there are less mosquitoes.
Our thanks to Andrew and Bhavin for recounting their trip to us and to everyone at First Rate Exchange services for making the project possible.