Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Water Tank Repair!

Mkwiro island is one of my favourite places in the world, the people are amazing, so warm welcoming and friendly, and nearly always happy. That may sound like a lot of places but very few other places I know of have the same hardships as the Mkwiro villagers. Being on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a dream for most people but this Island has no electricity and no running water, and the same applies to our Mkwiro base.

Like the villagers, we rely on rain water for drinking water and use salt water for the majority of other needs. As you can imagine, fresh water is a very precious commodity here and we all have to be very careful when and what we use it for.

We have only one large rainy season here and that was April to June and the smaller rains which we should be experiencing now (but aren’t). Normally this would be no problem but unfortunately our large 5000 litre water butt needs repair. To repair it, it meant draining it out completely and getting it flipped on its side so the local Fundi (Specialist) could come and fix the crack and add the new pipe and tap. Previously the old tap had broken off when the butt was full to capacity and water was shooting out everywhere, but thanks to some quick thinking from our day askari Faridi he was able to get a bung in.

So the water was saved but we still needed to fix the butt. To drain it we began last expedition siphoning our daily water requirements from it out of the top, and when it was as close to empty as the siphoning process was able to get it, it was bung pulling day. So we set up a chain gang of water haulers, pulled the bung and began the laborious process of carrying the last 300 – 400 litres by hand in 20 litre Jerries over to the other two water butts. We worked really hard under the browbeating heat of the Kenyan sun and eventually it was empty.

The next day it was down to Lucas and Dave to give it a really good clean. Our first problem was squeezing through the tiny hole so we can get in and give it a scrub. After some manoeuvring and a couple of tries we settled on the “Superman” style, head first and kind of drag yourself through the hole. Far from graceful but it did the job and we were in. Next came our cleaning utensils, the scrubbing brushes and scouring pads and some clean water and detergent. When we began the job we thought it would be fun and over quickly, within 2 minutes of being in there though we were both desperate to climb out. The heat inside was unbelievable, we were sweltering, we both ferverently agreed that the last thing we needed after the heat of the day outside was a Kenyan sauna, but this is what we got! After a good half hour of scrubbing we were finished (thankfully) it was clean and ready for Raphael the Fundi to come and fix the new tap. The final step is to fill the tank back up with fresh water from the mainland but we have our fingers crossed the rains give us a helping hand!