Yesterday, we learned that the Pilgrim Office would be closed today because of “Martyr’s Day.” With a Ugandan accent, this sounds alot like “Mother’s Day,” which spawned some confusion. According to today’s issue of the “Daily Monitor” (Truth Every Day), the holiday commemorates the deaths of 45 early converts to Christianity in Uganda.

We started the morning a bit late, as we were still saying our goodbyes to David and our “see you soon”‘s to Harrison (David’s bodyguard, as I told the students today when asked why Harrison had gone with him).  We worked on finishing the gutters on the window side of the longest building, S1-S4, 127 feet long. We are sloping the gutters to have their lowest point 50 feet from the tank, and plan to connect the downspout to the tanks with lengthy PVC pipes.

Pilgrim has also hired a plumber to help us with any of our tank/pipe installation needs. He works for the plumbing store where we bought almost all of our supplies. While we worked on gutters, the plumber carried around a miniature stove of hot coals, and used heat and properly sized pipe fittings to melt his holes through the tank. He melted holes for the overflow at the top of the tank, the tap stand, and a wash valve. The tap is about 5 cm higher than the absolute bottom of the tank. The plumber says that that will let dirt stay at the bottom and not come out in the drinking water. We had thought that having the tap as low as possible would allow us to completely empty the tank, and thus minimize bacterial growth, but we deferred to the experience of the plumber. (In our trip preparation, we had known very little about the structure of the tank, and whether or not it would come with suggested faucet attachments, so our plans for the faucet in our report are a bit vague, because we didn’t know what we would find).

He explained that to clean the tank, he would climb inside the tank, shovel out most of the sediments, and wash the rest out through the wash valve. To me, it sounded like this regular cleaning service was a benefit that came from purchasing the tank from this company, but I mean to confirm this with the plumber.

I interrupted the plumber’s work for a bit to show him the drill bits we had bought to make the tank’s water level gauge, an unnecessary component of the rainwater harvesting system that I had spent loads of time planning for.

After lunch (and a trip to MY Supermarket to purchase bottled water, a newspaper, and candy), our plumber finished up the tank attachments. We worked one tank at a time to get all the fittings in, and then would call all the students around to help us to lift the tank onto its concrete pad. Having the tanks lying on their sides on the ground had caused me a bit of anxiety. Even I was tempted to roll the thing around, and I’m sure the children hanging around on campus were even more so.

When the final tank was set onto its base, I gave almost everyone around me a high five. I was received with varying levels of enthusiasm, but my own spirits were quite high.

The only holes left to drill in the tank will be to connect the PVC piping from the gutters, to the first flush, to the tank.

After we finished working for the day, Rohan and Allison played “football,” and I played an intense game of better-than ultimate frisbee. Perhaps penultimate frisbee.

Quite a productive day!  Tomorrow, we will be setting out long stretches of PVC, and hopefully providing the MFP team some time to talk with Julius, the school handyman, whose time thus far has been monopolized by the water project.


Another note — after we lifted up the third tank, Bethany was running around giving the entire crew high-fives and these kids were like, “But Bethany… how is the water going to get INTO the tank?” Premature celebration, check! As our team decided, it was quite the ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment.

Shout out to David, who left this morning, from all of us: Thanks for saying such nice things about us; we miss our tireless photographer!

and HI, EWB COLUMBIA! Thanks for reading and keeping EWB in your thoughts through the summer (NERW kids I love you all so much. so much… so much.). and of course, special shoutout to EWB Uganda! As I’m sure you can already tell, the plans we worked on all year have been changed a bunch during implementation, but the decisions made were much easier to do keeping in mind our previous reasoning and logics from our Friday meetings.

and now picture time!