Quiet and safe camping in the west of Mali
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Waterpump Project (English)

Since 2015 I repair water pumps in the villages around me. I do this in cooperation with Maliproject in the Netherlands.
Repairing is very necessary since some villages have no clean drinking water, others have only one pump available for sometimes more then a hundred households, since all other pumps are broken.

In the district where I live there are 35 villages. Most have, or had, one or more waterpumps. They where placed between 1985 and 1987 by the worlbank. They set up this project to give clean water to small villages and was a very succesfilm project. The Worldbank setup a system of spare parts distribution, commissiegoed a Malien factory to make these spare parts, assigned distributors in every major city and trained water pump repair man. After a few years the World bank decided there project was succesfull and left. This all worked very well for about 5 years. Then the Malien government decided to levy a high import duty on the import of steel. This resulted in that the local manufacturers could not produce the spare parts cheaply enough and the whole system collapsed.
The Worldbank waterpumps are from Indian descent and are strong and simple. But without spare parts, even the best pump will break down after 25 years.

If a water pump breaks down, the villages do not have so many options. They could call the repair man, but this man does not have much business so charges a lot of money (this is African logic which you understand when you know Africa) and the spare parts, that now come from India are relatively expensive. So the villagers cannot pay the repair and have to find an alternative source for their water. When the village is close to the river they can take water from there, but the river water is not clean and in rainy season very dirty. The other alternative is to dig a whole untill groundwater is found. But digging by hand means they cannot dig deeper the water level, so they are getting water from the top, usually not the best. The wells, open, fill with dirt, dead animals and garbage, the water quelaity is very dubious. This results in bad health, specially the young children.

In 2014, the Director of the School of the village Tintela came to me with the demand if I could help their village solve their water problem. The , rather big, village had only two working pumps left, both of them quite far from the village, and recently one of these pumps had also broken down. The women, and often young girl, now had to walk 2 km to get water. I to studie the problem and tried to repair the other water pump. This was not easy, the pump was in a very bad condition. But knowing the importance of water I went back again and again untill the pump worked again. Pretty soon after that other villages contacted me with the same problems and after discussing this problem with Cees and Addie from Maliproject (www.maliproject.nl) we decided to rapair all the pumps of the villages on my side of the river (9 villages). I would do all the work, Maliproject would finance the spare parts.
Since I also have my own work (I am banana farmer) i decided to repair one pump every saterday. And so I did. Some pumps I had to repair more then once but in the end all 8 villages had clean drinking water.

Now (end of 2016) I have started with the same work on the other side of the river. However, for one reason or another, a reason I do not comprehend, all the pumps I have repaired break down again. Specially the bearings keep breaking, with the risk of the bearing balls falling into the well and breaking the seals on the pump cylinder, However, I will not give up and will continu my work untill all villages have sufficient clean drinking water. If needed I shall replace the pump heads with new ones. A bit expensive but what to do.

If you are willing to help, either financially, knowledge, good ideas or just a good talk, please contact me. I am doing all the work myself (without taking any money for this) so I can use all the help I could get.

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