Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
These are my 20L jerry-cans. I use about 2.5 of these a week. I accomplish this by: (a.) Showering every 2-3 days (only on the days I work out), minimizing dishes (I rarely wash my pots and pans... you know... because the heat will take care of the germs!), and wearing the same clothes multiple times before washing them (I cannot believe I am admitting this... I'll wear a shirt boxers 4+ days before putting them into the "for work outs"-pile where they get a few more uses before going to the laundry pile. If I do that with boxers... imagine how I treat t-shirts and pants).
This is quickly becoming an article about how disgusting I am as a human being. Whoops!
General Ecology First Need Water Purifier: Hands down the BEST water purifier on the planet earth. Notice: I said PURIFIER, not FILTER. This bad boy takes everything out of the water all the way down to Viruses. Today is not only my 18-months-as-a-volunteer celebration, it is also the 8 month-a-versary since I put this particular purifying cartridge into the first need. The website rates these filters as good for around 150 gallons of water. But check this out: at an average of 4 liters a day for 8 months, I've purified around 960 liters of water or 253 gallons of water! And it is STILL going strong. (The trick, of course, is that I am purifying water that has been allowed to settle, so I am not mucking up the filter with large particles.)
The rain tank: My primary source for water. You would not believe how quickly a hotel where almost no one stays can empty this multi-thousand liter tank. A week?
The spring: My secondary source for water. As you can see, the spring often goes dry. Even when it flows, it is nothing more than a small trickle, so it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to fill a jerry-can. The good thing about the spring is that I've never seen it swarmed with people. As it takes so long to fill cans, people are more inclined to take their water from the borehole or the swamp. The benefit of using the spring is that I can kick back and read a book while technically fetching water.
The Borehole: My tertiary source of water. There are several boreholes around Kyenjojo where people go to get water. Boreholes are drilled by NGOS all over Africa, and they often fall into disrepair. In Kyenjojo, for example, I've come across three that are broken down. (The most common problem with the bore-hole occurs from broken handles. The next most common is from failures in the one-way valves deep in the hole.) Typically, as the community has no ownership of the hole, when they break they simply stay broken until (a.) the original NGO returns to pay for the repair or (b.) a volunteer from another organization comes in and pays for the repair. (c.) There are instances in Uganda where PCVs have organized water committees and pooled community funds to make the repairs, this in an attempt to instill a sense of ownership of the hole in the future. There is a committee for this particular hole, and members who wish to use it must pay a few dollars a year for access.
Women carrying 20L jerry cans from the bore-hole back to their homes. "A pint's a pound the world around!" meaning these women are carrying around 42 pounds of water each for a half-mile or more. Beast.
If all else fails, I could (but never would), get water from here: The swamp. This is probably the dirtiest water around, as it contains the runoff from the city and shallow latrines around the area. A layer of oil shimmers on its surface.
Friday, October 7, 2011
To anyone who feels that they can beat respect into the young: Damn you to hell. You've failed us all. Enjoy your Karma.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Mushroom(s) – Akatuzi , Obutuzi (1k, ($0.33))
This is how the average Ugandan cooks EVERYTHING. A small pot, clay or metal, filled up with charcoal, boils the water than steams their posho (corn meal), beans or ebitooke. I ran the numbers when I bought my last propane tank, and based on the price of charcoal vs. propane, it is far more economical for a Ugandan family to continue using these stoves or the three-stone fire method than to upgrade to gas. Why? Because everything they eat requires boiling water for hours on end. Gas stoves aren't made for that.
The results are disastrous for the environment: trees are being cut down at an astonishing rate that increases every year as the population explodes. The policy is: Cut down a tree, but plant two. But the policy is rarely if ever followed.