Monday, March 7, 2011

Mengo Springs revisited

When we first came to Uganda one of the first projects we visited with the Glenns was the wonderful Mengo Spring. Actually it is called Nababirye Spring and is located in Kampala in a very densely populated area. People originally gathered water out of a spring fed pond. This water source was opened to cows and goats and although it was free flowing it certainly wasn't clean.

 The church funded a protected spring structure that was constructed by UCDV one of our current water contractors.
. . . and a beautiful spring it is. It always gives us a thrill to see the amount of clean water made available to this community
While visiting this spring last October with Dr. Hunsaker, our vision specialist, we were again overwhelmed with the numbers using this spring. We noted how many people were trying to wash their clothes near the water source causing a continual muddy environment to work in and then they were laying their clothes on the grass to dry. goats and cows wander in and out of this area not minding the clean clothes.
Another project was authorized to build a clothes washing station near the spring to provide a clean environment to wash clothes. Many people can wash their clothes at the same time with the used water running to the same runoff as the spring. Their is an abundance of water to use without having to carry the water long distances. Women are able to bring their children to help with the chore and socialize with other women while they are are washing. A clothes line was also provided.
The station was in full use when we arrived one Saturday morning. We had brought Olivia from Peace and Hope Training Center to teach the women the Family Health and Hygiene program and also how to make their own soap.
The local women's organization gathered for the training. Trainers from this group will continue to train the families using the spring in Family Health and Hygiene, soap making and making of reusable sanitary pads. These skills are greatly needed in this over populated area as the people are very poor with little or no money to buy supplies. They were given a good basic family health program and then taught how to make and sell soap to generate enough revenue to buy more supplies to make more soap there by insuring a supply of soap for their families needs. The reusable sanitary pad program is greatly needed as disposable pads are contaminating the environment and ending up polluting the water source.
It being Saturday, all the shoes got cleaned and made ready for Sunday.

The children didn't want to be left out. They got their hands on a Family Health and Hygiene manual and asked us to teach them, which we did. The parents may not be able to speak English but most of the kids do if they have been going to school.
We were at the washing station for about 4-5 hours and it stayed busy the whole time we were there. The woman who is chairman of the water committee said that the spring is busy all day and that different parts of the neighborhood had to be assigned different washing days so as to accommodate all those who wanted to use the station. The clothes line had been broken due to some one hanging on the crossbars. She was determined to manage the area securely and UCDV returned while we were there to reinstall the clothes line using a larger pole that would not easily bend.
How does one child's imagination work to turn a plastic water bottle and a bamboo pole into a car that he 'drove' (with sound effects) all over the neighborhood while we were at the Nababirye Spring Project?

This one project will benefit approximately 3000 people. What a great use of the humanitarian funds. Be generous, your humanitarian dollars are doing good work.


LBJ said...

I'm always blown away by the great difference water projects make in people's lives. Thanks for sharing.
PS. How are our friends in Kinshasa doing? Hope things are better! I haven't heard from them again.

Angela said...

I wish I still had an imagination like children do. I loved the cute little pink shoes. Good to know pink is universal for little girls :)

Art Glenn said...

Good job Barlows...It cheers us to see the work you are doing. It was good to see Olivia working and of course the wonderful people of Mengo! Our little Mark is an American and a "Glenn" now. He is a joy to our family...He is a wonderful example of the warm and sunny Africans.