First thoughts of actual work….

Waddup everybody, finally got out to Nkhata Bay BOMA which is like the downtown area of Nkhata Bay where I could have some internet access and catch everyone up on what’s been going on here in the TA Timbiri where I have been stationed for the last couple days. To sum things up real quick I have been visiting villages to have conversations and collect some data pertaining to why a water point (WP) does or does not work. Basically when a new WP is put into place, most of the time a committee is formed who is in charge of the maintenance and repair of it. This entails collecting data such as how much money the committee has collected, how many times the pump has broken in the past, what has been done to fix it in the past, how long that took, how much money it cost, who is responsible for the repair, who should pay for the repair, and so on and so forth. So over the past couple days I have managed to visit in the neighbourhood and 30 WP’s and their respective committee and if I have come to one conclusion it is that there is no single thing a community can have to guarantee it can take care of its WP. I have seen committees who raise an abundance of money and always repair their WP right next to committees with no money saved at all. Each community has its own, unique story to tell and it would be nearly impossible to sum them all up here so I will just bring up a couple key ones that stick out in my mind. The first one comes from an area I touched on my first day, in which I saw 3 Afridev(Common, Easy to find spares in this area, Expensive, Used for deeper wells/boreholes) pumps within 100 m of each other. All 3 had been broken for a long time and the community had taken no proactive action and was merely waiting on the District to provide them with another one. This is one of the challenges of community based management, where if District Governments continue to provide these handouts, or free repairs, the community won’t take ownership of its WP and will merely wait for someone to come and fix it for free. On the other end of things, I had a discussion with a committee who had a traditional higher up on its team. In this case the people implementing the wells did not inform the community that a committee needed to be formed (Which they should have). In every other case like this, I saw no committee being formed and no organization among the community as to who is responsible for what. This particular case was special in the way that they had raised 15,000 Kwacha all in one year. This was by far and away the most of any community I met with and they were able to do so in only 1 year. I now have the task of looking back at all of these notes and scribbles, tallying them up into a somewhat readable format and trying to think of ways EWB could intervene with a possible pilot project. So that’s work wise for the time being. Now to discuss a little bit of personal life, I have been staying just outside the Pundu market where I have been living with the local Area Mechanic (AM) that I do village visits with. To sum that up, I share a bed with him in a small brick house with a straw roof. I shower in a straw cubicle thingy and I do my dirty business in a brick/straw latrine. Big change from the cushy life in Canada I know, but its all an experience that I will take in stride and learn from. So that’s it from me for now, Im sure i didn’t cover everything and if you have any questions fire away…ill reply well…..whenever i can get to the internet really….. once again thank you all for the support.

Cheerio,

Ajit

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About ajitghuman

Hey Everyone, I'm a 2011 Junior Fellow representing RYERSON!!!...I'll be working with The Water & Sanitation team in Malawi this coming summer
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One Response to First thoughts of actual work….

  1. Rajpreet says:

    Hey Ajit, this must be different for you.. Still a lot to come. We are all with you . Keep it up…
    Take care

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