We have arrived back in western Massachusetts, leaving Drew and Claire to complete the school, supporting the indispensable effort of Christian, Nico, Nguema and the young men.
While in Doumandzou, we were reminded of how much we take for granted back home. Water is number one on that list.
We each drank about 2 quarts a day, we used almost as much for cooking, more for cleaning, and about 2 buckets for our showers, and more for washing clothes.
There is a well not far from the house that we would tap into for about 6-8 buckets a day. We filtered a couple of quarts each day for cooking, and we had a large supply of bottled water, that was replenished several times. That’s unfortunate because of the empty plastic bottles but it seemed some of them were re-used in a variety of creative ways.
Then there was the water needed for the school construction, to mix the cement and paint, and to clean up. That water came from a stream, with the small children bringing in wheelbarrows the buckets to fill up an oil drum outside the school.
The well is a meeting place. It is normally the job for the young to get water, but we saw mothers and fathers there with their very small children. Whenever we took a bucket up to the well, a young child would inevitably emerge and take over the dance required to operate the foot pump.
There are a couple of streams flowing through the village but we heard of snakes and other animals so we preferred to go to the well.
Perhaps water took on such a priority since we were in the village during the short dry season. Normally, big metal drums sit under the roof and collect the run-off from the heavy downpours, leaving a ready supply of water just outside the house. That heavy rainfall accounted for the erosion of the foundation on the school and hence the need to build a terrace under the roof to catch the rain before it hit the ground and caused further erosion.
The photos here are of Terrence working the pump, balancing two jugs so that the opening of the top jug fits right over the spout, wasting as little water as possible. There is a photo of the terrace under construction this week, and a group photo of all the workers, taken shortly before Mary, Henk and John joined Bob and Gaston for the ride back to Libreville.