Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Water tank for Gatenzi primary school

I realise that due to an oversight I have not got round to posting any pictures of the water tank we've installed at Gatenzi. Here is a photo essay to show you what the whole water tanks project is about. Total cost of this tank = about 2.5 million francs (about £3125). Estimated life span - at least 20 years. Number of children who benefit over its lifetime = 1265 x 20 = 25300. Estimated cost per child per year = 2.5 million /25300 = 100 francs a year per child, or 12 pence per pupil per year. A pretty good use of 12p per child, I'd say!

Apologies to all my Dorset friends and supporters for being so tardy in posting the pictures.

As usual, if you double click on a picture it will open to full size.

Welcome to Ecole Primaire Gatenzi. The sixth biggest primary school in my District, with 1265 children and 20 teachers.

Two of the three main teaching blocks. The little building in the middle was formely a private house. The school bought it some years ago and it has been made into a kitchen. Every teacher pays a small sum of money so that one of the village women can come in and cook them something to eat at mid day. It's too far for the teachers to go home and back if they live in Gitarama. Now that all children are doing half day shifts at school, we don't need to think about providing meals for them. (There is a separate United Nations FAO project whereby childrfen are given cans of oil etc if they make sure they come to school).

As with many Catholic primary schools in Rwanda, Gatenzi has the local chapel as one of its buildings. When it isn't being used for services or church meetings, the school can use it as an extra teaching space. Countless thousands of little feet are slowly wearing away the soil from around the foundations....

This is what we're getting away from. These children are off to fill their water cans. The yellow cans are old cooking oil containers. The blue cup isn't just for drinking from: the water at the stream is shallow and muddy and if you want to get reasonably clear water to drink, you have to painstakingly skim water from the top few inches of the stream using the cup. Just imagine how long it takes to fill the yellow pot, and then imagine how much school time is being wasted every day by over a thousand children at Gatenzi.

We decided to put the tank on the end of the block on the extreme right in this picture. If you look at the roof on the left, which is the same size, you get some idea of just how enormous these roofs are, and therefore how quickly a tank will fill with water during a storm!

Gatenzi school sits on top of a ridge with wide views in all directions across the Cyeza countryside.

Strong foundations to carry an enormously heavy tank. Imelda says the children, and their parents, got really excited when they saw this stonework being built. The school has wanted a tank ever since it was built, and at last they realised they were going to get one!

Guttering being fixed to the roof. The roof is lightweight metal, and fairly flimsy, so you have to be careful how you attach the gutters. It all looks a bit Heath-Robinson, but I assure you it works!

The little pipe sticking out of the bottom of the tank is to drain it should we ever want to empty the tank (e.g. for repairs). The big pipe at the top is the overflow. The size of this overflow gives you an idea of the volume of water which can be rushing into the tank at the height of a torrential rainstorm. Overflow pipes are essential. If we didn't have them, the weight of excess water backing up the inlet pipes and guttering could cause them to collapse and probably damage the roof, too!

Water comes out of the tank through the silver pipe to a tap in the concreted apron. I like these concrete aprons; they prevent the main tank from being eroded by people collecting water, and the make it safer and a lot less slippery when you fill a jerry can. Eventually we can have two taps, with two cans being filled at the same time.

The workmen finish fixing the box-shaped filter to the tank. They are securing it so that nobody can tamper with it and pollute the water. Don't you just love the improvised ladder?

A selection of children who had come to see what I was doing, but who go to the school, happily pose by the tank. They aren't in uniform because the picture was taken during their summer holidays.

A happy Imelda poses with the two workmen. All we need now is rain....

(Footnote: we had a tremendous electrical storm on the night of August 14th. I saw Imelda yesterday; she told me the storm has just about completely filled the tank, and the children are all using water from our tanks this week).

Well done Bradpole!

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