Sunday, May 22, 2011

In Africa Water is Life

The theme for the pursuit of clean water in Africa is WATER IS LIFE!

This is a lush green country with some arid spots but a considerable amount of rainfall that should easily sustain a water system and even an electrical system country wide.

Many people are focusing on clean water here but it is amazing to see the amount of clean water sources that have been done here by the church over the last 10 years.

The church is funding many types of water projects.
Spring runoff before it is protected
Protected spring can have as many pipes as flow allows - flows year around.
Protected Natural Springs: This is the easies water source to build here, the catchment of natural springs that gather water from several springs, bringing the water into a catchment basin and then allowing it to flow freely through a pipe. This process captures the water before it becomes contaminated and the water flows year around without any containment. The best part about springs is that there is no maintenance except keeping the runoff ditch clear so that the water doesn't flow back to the pipe area. The community just has to keep the site clean and free of debris. The water belongs to the community and since there is no maintenance cost the water is free. The limitation of a spring is that it has to be located where there is a spring source and these are often at the bottom of hills which still requires some effort for gathering water. These water sources can last up to 50 years. The cost of developing a spring is approx. $1800.
    Water source is open for animals to drink and is usually stagnant water.
    Can be built in 2-3 days and is protected by fence to keep animals away.
Shallow Hand Dug Well: This type of water source is used where there is ground water but no free flowing springs. A shallow well is dug about 20 meters deep and then covered with a pump system. The pump requires maintenance and a good deal of community support to keep the pump in working condition but maintenance cost is minimal and the people can pay a small amount per Jeri can of water which can fund the pump maintenance. Interestingly some people will still go to the ground water source so they don't have to pay for water even though the ground water is very unsafe. Cost of a hand dug well is approx. $1800.
Only alternative water source for these villagers was collecting water from the swamp
Children are very fearful of collecting water at a pond or swamp because of snakes and crocodiles
Deep Borehole: This type of water system is necessary in the more arid parts of Uganda where the rainfall is limited. It requires the use of a drilling rig that can bore a hole as deep as needed to find an aquifer. A borehole requires active community participation to pay a small amount for water to fund pump repairs. A water committee governs the borehole collecting fees for water, doing maintenance and managing repairs as needed. Boreholes if cared for properly can last many years. A bore hole is valuable as it usually can be put close to where the need is and it is most often bringing water to a community that has no other water source available. Cost for a borehole averages $10,300.
Children are assigned to fetch water each day which can take 4-6 hours causing them to miss a day of a school water source is a real blessing
Any water for a school is a wonderful gift
Rain water catchment: A great way to provide water for health clinics or schools is by capturing rainwater from the roof. This system requires a metal roof with at least 30 feet of gutter that feeds water into a poly tank. Although this water is not pure enough for drinking it provides water for washing and cleaning and can be boiled for drinking. Cost for a 10,000 Liter water catchment system $2,400. These systems can be used on homes with smaller tanks for personal family use.

In Uganda during the last 18 months the church has funded
  • 267 Protected springs
  • 50 hand dug wells
  • 20 boreholes
  • 78 water catchment systems for schools and health clinics
Lets add to that
  • 90 6-stance latrines and hand washing stations for schools.
  • Includes a wash room for girls to clean up and a stance for handicapped.
Hand washing station near latrine
  • 70 Clothes Washing Stations at water source sites
  • Close washing station at water source
  • 390,000+ people receiving clean water and training in hygiene and sanitation.
Your LDS Charites WATER DOLLARS doing good works in Uganda.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A series of unfortunate events

We always try to share good works and the wonderful things we encounter here in Uganda so it was with forethought that we didn't tell you about our February experience; but now that it is over and we survived, we can now look back on it as a great learning experience and feel free to tell about our trying February.

We were having a wonderful time with our grandson Ryan and son-in-law Keith who were spending a week with us on the dental project when we found out our sweet Jacob (Keith's 6 yr.old son) was severly ill and taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes.

Keith needed to get home quickly to be with him and Christie. After a frantic search for flights we took Keith and Ryan to the airport late on Feb 16th.

On the way back from the airport while we were stopped at an intersection, a man opened our car door and grabbed my purse. It was such a surprise, I forgot to be scared and fought with him for the purse. With a violent jerk he took my purse and broke my index finger.

It was midnight and we did not know where to seek help so we just went home. After a sleepless night and a finger that had swollen to twice it size we found medical care at THE SURGERY, a private British clinic. Dr. Stockley x-rayed my finger and acknowledged it was broken and would need surgery as the piece of bone that the tendon was attached to was pulled loose and I was unable to bend my finger. If I wanted use of the finger I would have to have surgery.

Dr. Stockly referred us to Dr Hodges at a hospital just out side of Kampala where they do corrective surgery for children. He said Dr. Hodges was a plastic surgeon who specialized in hands.

Farrell and Elder Thayne gave me a blessing. A feeling of comfort came and I was confident about seeing Dr. Hodges even though I was in Africa and everyone knows you never want surgery in Africa, even if it is just a finger.

We went to CORSU hospital paid our money up front for a consultation and were escorted to the surgery suite where Dr. Hodges was doing surgery. I was directed to undress and don surgical pajamas. I was having a hard time figuring out why I needed to put on surgical pajamas for a consultation but I am on a confidence roll so . . .
One young man was getting surgery for a deformed foot. Surgery for children at this hospital is free.
I was escorted into the surgery suite and Dr. Hodges looked at me and said , "What are you doing in here. Your brave. Don't you want a consultation before you have surgery." My confidence was growing by the minute.

After he examined my finger he said we should schedule surgery but not yet as it would have to wait for the swelling to go down. We were scheduled to go to Luputa and then to Johannesburg the next week so he scheduled the surgery for when I returned, telling me to come back for another consultation (+fee) when I returned back to Kampala.

So, with my extremely swollen finger we headed to Luputa. The ten days we were gone we had 7 flights and 4 days of 4X4 wheeling in the Congo all the time trying to protect my hand and also trying to learn how to be a Lefty as I could not use my right hand for anything. I mean it, really, NOTHING. Poor Farrell had to take over all the work plus dress me and even help me brush my teeth. Ever tried to brush your teeth as a Lefty when you are really a Righty. This explains my bad hair day in the Congo (see the Luputa blog). I looked pretty bad as I couldn't comb my hair or put on any makeup using my left hand. This is camping out when you go to Luputa. Besides my finger was p-a-i-n-f-u-l!!

We finished the work in Luputa and headed to South Africa for the end of our Country Directors conference (we only made 1 day of the 4 day conference) and to make a report to the Area Presidency on our trip to Luputa. All went well but we didn't get time to do any shopping in the big city which we had been looking forward to and ended up exchanging our rand we had gotten at the ATM earlier for dollars as we left the airport.

When we returned home we were able to get the surgery done on the "finger".

I had a pin down the middle of my finger and my tendon was affixed to a button on the outside of my fingernail, a pretty red button. My hand was put in a brace to be worn for 6 weeks.

Farrell was still going to have to wait on me while I read a book and complained..

About this time Farrell thought he might ought to check our bank account on line as we had used an ATM in So. Africa and he had a man try to help him use the ATM machine. He had to be very insistent with the man that he back off and let him do it himself. Suspicious? But the concern was lost in all we were trying to do. When he finally checked our account we were losing money like crazy. Someone had access to our account. Farrell was kicking himself for not being more careful. It took a while (time zones and calling from Africa to the US) but he finally got the account closed and the bank working on getting his account fixed.

We had been asked to return to Luputa in the Congo again this time with Elder and Sis. Bingham the new humanitarin missionaries for the Congo and with Elder and Sister Frandsen the water specialists, so back we went. Another 4X4 experience and me with my repaired finger. Everyone was very gracious and made sure I stayed up front in our 4 wheel vehicle so I wouldn't harm my finger but because of my own stubbornness I did re-injure my finger causing a delay in the healing process and requiring me to keep the pin and tendon button on for an extra 2 weeks. After the first week of my extended care my finger became infected and I couldn't get out to the hospital to see Dr. Hodges as we were having a little civil unrest in Uganda so we had to stay in the apartment. Dr. Jesse Hunsaker was visiting us to help us set up a vision project so he just took the button off and I "accidentally" pulled the pin out so that was the end of that .
Dr. Andrew Hodges, my capable surgeon.
 (Just a little reality check here - when you go to CORSU Hospital you get quite a humbling. There are many children there with extensive deformities, cancerous tumors and amputations. When I was sitting in the physical therapy room getting fitted for a protective cover over my finger there was a young man about 13 laying on a mat exercising his stump. He had an above the knee amputation the results of a hit/run by a motor cycle. His injury probably could have been corrected in the US but here the only alternative was to amputate. As I was visiting with him the PT put a cover over my finger and pushed it down hitting the pin in my finger and I yelped. I turned to this kid and said, "That hurt!" He just looked at me, nodded and grinned. I felt pretty dumb with my little finger injury next to his amputation.)

So February was not our best month here in Africa but looking back we see great blessings.
  • We were negligent in leaving our car door unlocked and we were very blessed that it was only a finger that was injured.
  • We were given an opportunity to revisit the Congo not once but twice and travel with the Binghams and the Frandsens. We can not express our love for these two couples. The trip was a highlight in our mission.
  • Jacob has come through the Diabetes Ordeal with flying colors. He is an amazing young man who just planted his feet firmly and at age 6 took charge of his problem. He is our hero.
  • The bank was able to recover all the funds missing from our bank account.
  • My finger bends! Well it bends at two joints although the top joint will probably never bend but I do have my finger.
Life is interesting.
Life just keeps moving along.
Life can be a series of unfortunate events.
But it is also full of many wonderful blessings.
We are going to call all of this a great learning experience, give thanks for all our many blessings and tuck these experiences away in our mission memory bank.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Congratulations Carrie! You did it.
We know it wasn't easy and we know it required all these wonderful people to support you or else MOM could not have got her degree. Congratulations on acceptance to grad school. You are a winner. We are so very proud of you and very proud of the whole family who helped you make it happen.
Carrie Lynn Barlow Ormsby
Bachelor of Science
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Idaho State University
10 May 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I believe you should "Never say goodbye" but now I am beginning to believe in the saying of "Never say never" because it could happen again.

During our mission here in Uganda we have returned to Luputa in the DR Congo 3 times.
We were in Luputa last November for the turnover ceremony for the large water project that we worked on our whole mission in the Congo. In February the Area Presidency asked us to return to the Congo to check on that same water project.. There were a few things that had not been completed and work had slowed down to a stand still. As the new humanitarian couple had just arrived and were not familiar with the project they asked us to leave Uganda and return to Luputa to assess the problem.

We ended up going by ourselves in February and then again in March with the new Humanitarian couple, the Binghams, and the water specialists Elder and Sister Frandsen. This was a reunion of sorts as the Frandsens had traveled with us to Luputa back in 2008. We just can't put this experience behind us without showing some of the pictures.


Roads offer ultimate 4X4 experience.

No that is not our axle in the middle of the road but it is somebodies.

Heading to the fields for a days work.

Sis, Frandsen and Sis, Bingham enjoyed their 4X4 ride in the back of the truck with all the luggage and bottled water.
The country taxi or the only mode of transportation other than bicycle to get into the city.


Attending church in Luputa where there are 7 branches in the Luputa District and rumors they could become a stake as soon as they can get a building built.

It is Sunday, It is very hot and yes I am having a bad hair day.

Oldest member of the church in Luputa

Nestor Ilunga family.
Their picture was featured in the Liahona Magazine recently. He is the project supervisor for the Casava Farm in Luputa

All members walk to church. We doubt that any member has a car but some do have motorcycles.


The road going into Luputa

An unfinished water fountain but they have found a way to get water out of it even it it drains the system dry.

Typical village homestead. Most everyone has a garden
Got to do protocal when you come to the village and register that you are in town'
The Bingham's first time to Luputa.
Entertainment of your own making.
Like mother, like daughter, a woman's work is never done.

Everyday fashion of Luputa.
Everyone is happy to meet the Binghams.
Getting dinner ready.
First you grow the gourd.
. . .then dry the gourd.

. . .cut the top off and clean the gourd out. Now you have a nice bowl to store your cassava flour.
Grind the corn with a mortor and pestle.

Stir the corn flour into boiling water then add some cassava flour.
Now you have FOOFOO, the staple starch of the Congo. Foofoo is eaten every day and most people think they would starve if they didn't get foofoo every day.
Smashing greens to cook for dinner.

The train station still in use today.

Housing for the train depot master.
:Petrol station no longer in use. The only petrol you can buy in Luputa is bought in two liter water bottles.
Post office - on the right porch is the individual mail boxes. Post office is no longer used. There is no mail system in this part of the Congo.

The train still runs in the Congo although trips are sporadic and when once we transported pipe for the water project to Luputa the shippment was delayed due to a strike.


Moss or a parasite? Not sure.

A wild fruit that grows out of the ground.
Elder Frandsen dared to try it.
You peel off the pretty red peel and eat the white flesh inside, It is rather sour but the natives love it.
African grasshopper. they are big and eatable . . . no thanks!
Is it a toad? Is it a frog? (never could figure that one out)
The goats must get to market . . .
, , ,one way or another.


Exposed leaking water pipes.
Fountains with taps missing,

Tapes were left open and flowing freely at the upper villages draining the system and not allowing the tanks in Luputa to fill for distribution.

Elder Frandsen calculated that 1/2 of the water coming from the source was being lost at these free flowing taps. No wonder the tanks were not filling up.


Meet with the water committee and find our why they are not managing the system. They were pretty upset about some problems of a second water committee being established.
Meet with the contractor and establish a date to be finished and a plan to empower the water committee. Dominique Sowa had been and still is a very dear friend and an amazing water engineer. The Luputa project was his dream. He brought it to the church asking to have it developed.
We found that the tanks had never completely filled up since the water system was opened. A plan to get all the distribution sites secure and the pipes repaired and buried was put into an action plan.
Arthur, the engineer and keeper of the sysem was chewed out, praised and then empowered to get the system up and running.
Farrell was asked to speak to all the people monitoring the system and caring for each deistribution site. This was a real pep talk and he explained the sacred responsibility of managing this great gift of clean water.
The radio station reporters were eager to find out the problems and how the CHURCH was going to solve the problems. Elder Barlow gave them a charge to be the communicators for the community and support the plan of the water committee. They were to explain to the people that "water is free, a gift from God but the system is not free and the community had to pay for the water they use and safe guard the system so that it could serve them for many years to come. The church does not own the water system, it belongs to the community and the community through the water committee would govern the system.


women carry 60 lbs. of water on their head, unbelievable.

Recycled sunglasses, notice the jute ties instead of stems over the ears.
Kindergarten playing "Had a Little Doggie and He Won't BIte You'

Classic Congolese hairdos
A classic African face

Quite a load for one bike, let alone one mother

A little pretended shyness

Got to be twins
Clasic Congolese fabric in this skirt
Homemade cards
Homemade guitar
Got to love the Congo - this is the true Africa
Hmmm, wonder if we will ever go back.