From the start Vima Lupwa Home has found it a conti nuous problem to obtain enough clean water for the househ old, the garden, and the chickens. Though only 58% of Zambi ans have access to potable water, it has been our continual goal to find a viable solution to having safe and sufficient water available.
We initially dug a well that ran out of water early last year at the onset of the dry season. Unfortunately, our childr en had to resort to fetching water from neighbors to keep their smal l garden alive. Finding a solution to our water problem that was a perfect fit for our home took pa tience and lots of research. Our initial hope for t he PlayPump water system was unmet as this system is o nly allowed to be placed in public places (such as schools, hospitals, etc), not on private land. ( Although we do hope someday to place a few in local schools as part of a community outreach project
Amenshi! - Water! Amenshi ya mweo - Water is life Amenshi yalaleta umweo - Water brings life
Thanks to some very committed and patient financial sponsors and one dedicated water specialist volunteer, our biggest goal is presently under way - the installation of a bicycle powered pump water system sourced by a newly dug 30 meter well! Adapted to fit local conditions and materials, this system will utilize the children’s power in a fun manner to pump and store water in a way that is both ecologically responsible and culturally appropriate.
his drawing shows the system being installed: a p ulley powered by a bicycle at ground level drawing water into a t ank on top of a steel tower.
We hope you enjoy the excerpts of Tyler Pratt’s journals below:
September 12 th , The early morning sun glows red through a smoky Afr ican horizon. Dust and burning fields cast a grey fog on summer in Zambia, but not so grey as to dull the ochre red earth and jet black charcoal seen almost everywhere one looks. Wrapped in beautifully patter ned cloth with children slung on their backs, the w omen go about their daily tasks while it appears the men ha ve ample time to lounge about and do little. Of co urse this is a generalization, as many of them work hard as well. Life here is simple living, yet it seems as if I c annot go anywhere without all eyes on me, to the point that I find myself avoiding eye contact as a means of gu arding my energy. The incessant “ Muzungu ” (white man) and “ Eway ” (hey you) shouted nearly every block I walk, is a n attention I have not quite experienced before even if the remotest of my travels. My logic tells me I had better get used to it, as this is still just the beginning of my African journey, and I’ve yet to leave my stable grounds of my hometown Luanshya, Zambia.
Violet sings to herself as she builds a charcoal fi re for her morning coffee. The electricity once again has gone off, meaning a break from our electric convenience and back to the traditional charcoal.
All in all I have been making decent progress with the water project that I came here for. The biggest challenge so far , as I knew it would be, has been sourcing and pricing all of our materials, which involves making many rounds through town on my finally tuned, yet s till rickety bike, which seems to endure a tube puncture every other outing from thorn, glass shard, or metal sliver. I have found most all of o ur materials needed, and now the job entails purchasing and arranging gettin g them here. I have nearly finished fabricating the pedal powered eleme nt of our rope pump in a conveniently close mechanics junk yard. The only i tem missing amongst the precariously high piled scraps of rusty metal a nd half rotten welds is a one eyed bulldog on a half ton chain. Since I have started working here, the arc welding machine nearly melted from an inter nal short circuit, the capacitor on the angle grinder burnt up rendering i t out of service, and my brand new welding hood which I made the mistake of loaning them for one day was stepped on and broken. My only reasonably level working space is a 1 meter by 1 meter steel plate nicely tucked i n the corner amongst a couple years worth of sharp dusty rusty metal off-c uts and often encircled by a good many onlookers curious of the tattooed “ Muzungu ” and his crazy bicycle contraption. The insulation on the welding stinger is so broken down that one frequently experiences unwelcomed sho cks and the machine only withstands about 5 minutes of welding before starting to smoke, then taking a good 15 minutes to cool down enough to weld for another 5 minutes. Despite all of these challenges our bicycle is solidly mounted, plumb and level and just a grindings away from pruning and painting.
September 20 th - Progress has significantly sped up and we are on our way towards completion of our tower. I met a manager of an engineering firm in the industrial district who was interested in our project and wanted to support our cause and quickly volunteered his facilities, wholesale costs on materials, help with installation, use of his truck for transport, and all of the available hands I could want. This is such a blessing I cannot even express my gratitude at having a proper shop with tools at my fingertips, Tyler and Malama working on tower which will make the whole project much more enjoyab le and efficient.
October 8 th - After two weeks of a bored-out-of-their-minds drilling crew milling around their broken percussio n borehole driller in our backyard, they finally withdrew it a nd showed up with a quick drilling rotary drill and almost finis hed with the primary hole before I could blink. I had to quit w ork welding and rush home so I would not miss any of the action. H oping to see a geyser come out of the ground, I was getting ver y nervous, as we didn't seem to be encountering any water except for slightly damp, sticky and sparkly clay (“we hit a copper vei n...”) As for us to go down to true ground water, meaning a good 40 meters or so, would involve an expense beyond our budget a nd a pump with continual electric bills, expensive controls, and a short life in the land of poor quality power, we had hoped to fin d a nice stream of available infiltrated surface water. It wasn't until they turned off the drilling rig to let some water accum ulate and then blasted that bottom of the hole with pressurized air when we all got soaking wet as water blew out o f hole and muddied everything and all standing by!! ! Imagine the excitement while dancing and singing in this ge yser of water ! I was relieved beyond belief, and they agreed to go another 7 meters deeper than they had planned, which now puts us to 30 meters deep, just on the verge of pushing the limits on this technology.
I am motivated and given strength to endure by watc hing these children in their daily task of hauling water from the neighbor’s well. I am constantly reminded with their presence , that this is all about these children, who are a joy and gift to thi s earth. Their kindness, love, and abundant energy and laughter, e ven having come from such abandonment and abuse, is beyond ins piring. Here with Vima Lupwa Home they are being given a se cond chance, and embracing it as family. Sending my love to all, Tyler
1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This a mounts to around 5000 deaths a day.
Umuntu uli onse afwaika ukukwata amenshi ayasuma mubwikashi bwakwe Everyone needs clean water for living Thank you from all the Vima Lupwa Children
CHRISTMAS IN ZAMBIA
As Malerie and Marlena prepare to return to the Vima Lupwa Home to celebrate the 2 nd anniversary of its opening [Dec. 16 th ] and the second Christmas with the children, we have some special requests. Rather than loading up suitcases with gifts that may not fit or be appropriate, we’d like to be able to take the children CHRISTMAS SHOPPING in a nearby city: taking a bus, possibly their first ever, letting them each select a new-to-them clothing outfit, a pair of shoes and hopefully a toy or item of their choice.
Please make this a memorable Christmas for the children at Vima Lupwa Home. A $50 donation will pay one child's bus fare, an outfit and shoes, a gift of their choice, a lunch on the town - and a smile to treat your own heart . Checks can be sent to address in footer below.
HOLIDAY CARDS AND CALENDARS:
Check our website www.lupwahomes.org or www.myspace.com/vimalupwahomes for updates on our wish-list, holiday cards, calendars, and events. Natotela Sana. Thank you .