18th March 2014
As our first phase draws to a close, we have spent some time thinking about what we have already achieved and making plans for the second phase.
After many long days of trekking through sand and trees to all the subvillages that make up Mayamaya (and only getting lost twice) we have finally completed all of the baseline surveys. We found that many people spend up to six hours per day collecting water. Repairing the water distribution point at the local school has allowed more people to gain access to water and reduce their collection time.
Our demonstration of the tippy tap at the local auction has raised significant awareness. It was really inspiring to see 10 new tippy taps appear the next time we went to the market as a result of our demonstrations. We also used the opportunity on International Womens Day (8th March) to invite many women from across Mayamaya to discuss the MDG’s and then carried out another tippy tap demonstration with them.
One of our cultural integration activities we held was organising a sports day for the pupils of the local school. We prepared certificates, and gave one to each class for taking part in the events.
Throughout our construction in phase one we have been helping the local fundi (builders) to build demonstration latrines. We collected sand and water for the cement, and each made our own bricks while signing them with our names. There are two different styles of latrines, the first is the traditional latrine which is the most affordable and easy for the villagers to build. The second latrine type is the ‘VIP’ latrine which is a more solid structure made with bricks and iron roofing. However these are more costly. The demo latrines are situated in the busy market area so we have plans to do lots of awareness raising around these in the next phase.
In the evenings there has been lots of singing and dancing around our camp fire, using materials we can find as instruments.
All of these have been major highlights for us during our placement so far. As good as the highlights have been, we have also come across many challenges. One of the biggest challenges we face on a daily basis is water. We have learnt how important a resource it is to us in our village. Purifying the water causes difficulty as we have to wait for water to be safe to drink, cook and wash. We have approximately 13 litres of water for each of us per day, so rationing water is important.
Another struggle whilst living so closely to nature has been the rain. From the average British rain to the heavy thunderstorms, the wind lifts our tents and blows the rain in, as well as flinging our belongings from side to side. To tackle this, we have improved our tent structure and are always watchful of the sky so we can take precautions!
Planning is taking place for our secondary project, which is a part of the project we have used our action research to design and are bidding to the panel at phase review for some funds to help us with our plans.
We feel our phase one has been a success with many unforgettable moments, such as seeing the villagers taking on board the information from our demonstrations to make a positive change. We are all excited for continuing our work and ready to continue with our awareness raising and to start our secondary project in phase two.