Yesterday, we completed construction of our water business in the village of Sankunpe. Construction involved the heating of screws over a fire started with leftover paint thinner, the chaining of blue drums to discourage theft, and some polytank plumbing work. To prepare the polytank to hold the water, Julia jumped inside the tank with a sponge and shea butter soap from the market and got the job done!
Once construction was finished, we commenced training the women entrepreneurs. We focused on alum training which is the first of the two steps in the purification process. Aluminum sulfate is a flocculent used to separate the sediment from the dugout water. In its usual state, dugout water resembles chocolate milk due to its high turbidity. The women were already familiar alum and took the alum balls from us and confidently stirred them in the blue drums.
This morning we arrived in Sankunpe expecting to find three blue drums of clear dugout water with the sediment settled at the bottom. Much to our surprise, the water was still full of sediment. We did not account for how the turbidity of the water is higher at this time of the year. As the dry season comes to an end, the water levels of the dugout are low causing the high turbidity.
We re-treated the water with our women entrepreneurs, explaining what had gone wrong, and waited another 30 minutes to confirm that the treatment worked. Tomorrow we will transfer the fully-flocculated water to the polytank to be treated with chlorine. Fingers crossed that we will be sipping potable water very soon!
Also, in other news… Sam fell madly in love with a goat named Regina.