Many believe that water is one of the most essential compounds on earth. It is necessary in our daily lives for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing, and yet, until we go without, it’s easy to take for granted.
In Ddegeya Village, where our clinic resides, water has been a barrier. Before we built the clinic and until just several years ago, our only water source was the well at the bottom of the hill. And when the well dried up or the pump handle broke, we fetched water from the adjacent murky pond shared by frogs and other swamp creatures (see photos below). Imagine trying to build a health care clinic, using mostly cement, without running water and only having the capability to carry Jerry cans (maximum of 5 gallons) on the head or strapped to a bicycle. And then envision managing a clinic without running water to wash hands, wounds or clean exam beds.
Several years ago, we installed large cisterns that collect rain water on site, a terrific improvement. Still, these cisterns run dry and they are a far cry from running water.
The team built a 13’ x 10’ x 17’ 50,000 liter tank below ground, based on nearby Tekera Resource Centre’s successful model. The rainfall from the gutters of our buildings funnels down and collects in this underground tank. Then, a stair master-like device pumps the water up to holding cisterns that gravity feeds to wash basins and shower spigots.