Unprotected springs are great breeding grounds for Cholera and Typhoid, and humans and animals may use that same water source. A typical spring may feed thousands of people including schools and who knows how many animals? An unprotected spring is normally a pool of water fed by an underground water source. It is exposed to the sun, air, frogs, algae and more.
A land owner has to give permission for the protected spring to be built on their land as the unprotected spring is “their spring”. Typically this spring is already being accessed by the local community. Also an analysis of the community and spring needs to be done first and once they meet the requirements of Omwabini, a protected spring will be built.
A new future route (trench) for the water is dug close to the current water source without interfering with the water supply as people still need to use it. This trench from the water source to the new protected spring is lined with rocks to act as natural filter and these rocks are protected by a liner on top of them that prevents the soil from falling into the rocks. This trench and old spring are buried at a later time close to finalizing the project. Another trench is dug from the new spring to rejoin the current water path down stream. A reservoir is built that will be fed by the current spring. This reservoir has an inlet holes for the water to enter from the new filtered stream and two exit pipes raised high enough to allow buckets to fit under them. The inlet holes and exit pipes are high enough to let any sediment, if there is any, to fall to the bottom of the reservoir so that only clean water flows out.
Today was the commissioning of the protected spring we helped to construct. It was attended by people from different communities that have already received protected springs from Omwabini and communities that wish to have one. It was also attended by health officials and regional government representatives. Most important it was attended by those from the community who were to receive the protected spring and those that worked on it. There were many speeches from EVERYONE totally 3 ½ hours as we were informed by our children and “Mama Mary’s” was the longest. We, of course, had the seats of honour in front of everyone and strove to look keenly interested in every word. (Yup, that African patience did come in mighty handy).
Mary made sure everyone remembered who donated the land, who paid for the spring, who worked on it and more so who did not work on it and should have. Also who is responsible to maintain it and how it has to remain clean for health reasons. She also explained some more about Omwabini and what is does in the communities and told the “river story” reflecting on how to help and educate people (instead of continually giving them handouts). It was noted that this spring feeds 2900 people, some of who come from a few kilometres away.
|The unprotected well being used|
|The unprotected well|
|Building the new protected well; digging the trenches and reservoir hole|
|Building with the bricks|
|Working with the finishing cement|
|More finishing with cement|
|Fresh clean water flows out|
|The protected well|