Thanks to an incredibly generous grant by Rotary District 5080 with clubs in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, we have a functioning solar water pump and storage system at Wana Duma Eco-Village.
Water is LIFE!
Much of 2017 was spent on this ambitious project. First we needed to get to the water - a naturally occurring fresh water spring bordering the property. The only thing in our way? A fifty foot cliff.
Well, if we are being truthful, that wasn't the ONLY thing in our way. The cliff needed to be reinforced for anti-erosion precautions. A path was built (carved?) in order to get materials to the river. There are few affordable options for machinery in our little part of Kenya, so every piece of the pump, every load of cement had to be wheelbarrowed down by hand. There was also a pesky 800 foot trench that needed to be dug from the top water storage area to the edge of the cliff. Then there was the issue of making sure we would be able to secure and protect the pump, hundreds of feet of water line, solar panels and electrical box. This was not just a 1-acre project it connected all 7-acres of Wana Duma Eco-Village.
During the building of the solar pump system drought hit Kenya and Wana Duma lost their bean crop and banana trees – food that would have fed many needy families. Susanne, Paul, Susan and some of our 'big boys and girls' tirelessly hand watered the most important crops and endangered tree species throughout the dry spring. With the new water storage tanks and solar pump, in addition to the rainwater collection system currently in place, water will be available year round. The tanks will give us plentiful water for hand watering during dry seasons.
The project’s benefits will be felt for years to come and be the cornerstone for future improvements and growth at Wana Duma Eco-Village. Increased access to water coupled with sustainable farming practices has already allowed Wana Duma’s food programs to feed more people nutrient- rich food and help the surrounding community gain access to clean water. Maize, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, bananas, mangoes, squash and more from our land are making a positive difference in the health of the people we serve (those living below the poverty line in rural Kenya).
In addition to our monthly food program staples of rice, ugali, sugar and uji, we are now able to add nutritious FRESH food and grains for our families who don't have a garden plot of their own The community has been an amazing support and resource for problem solving over the course of the project. Elders of the area banded together to help secure the permits and even volunteered during the last push to finish on time.
Over the course of the project, we were able to employ 30 people - even some of our former students! Community leaders together with Wana Duma have created a metering system to pay for potential maintenance and repairs making this project a self-sustaining investment. Our neighbors in the area no longer have to make the long trek to the river saving many hours each day. Needless to say, we have become quite popular in the community!
The solar water pump and water storage system at Wana Duma Eco-Village is an investment in our future and the health and well-being of the surrounding community. Thank you to Rotary District 5080 and every individual who have helped make this dream come true!