Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wells being completed and new project beginings

It's been a long time since I've written. And we're not yet finished with the wells we will be doing this year. It's a constant learning process...

Leah and I want to thank you all for donating to AVISE this year. The response has been overwhelming. We have far surpassed our goal of enough money for 4 new wells. I believe the exact figure of what was donated is around $6,000 or more!

While we have been extremely successful stateside, it's been frustrating as well to have the communities to continue the work at a good rate. All the communities have planned it out so they would finish just before the rains come--which is NOW, by the way. Thus, even their own projections of when they could finish are off. But more problematic is that we have multiple communities desiring the same materials at once. In sum, much of the orginal plan has changed for this year. We are not neccessarily funding the wells that we originally intended. Instead we're funding the communities that are dynamic and organized to do the labor. Next year, we'll require the communities to have their well dug by February, completely, until they are considered for financing, after which AVISE decides which community needs it most.

We will not be able to use all of the $6,000+ that was sent to AVISE, being completely overwhelmed by the amount, like I've said earlier. Thus, next year, we can really connect with communities within Tourou over the rainy season, get them organized and really make a larger impact next year.

One of the problems we encountered this year is that money wasn't available until late in the season, and due to this, AVISE approved communities to dig too late in the game.

We're slowly transitioning out of wells into working in other realms. Leah and I have begun to work with a womens group on soap making and health presentations, especially regarding malaria and water-borne diseases. We're setting them up to receive credit from a local community bank as well. Every Tuesday, Leah doesn't a presentation for women waiting for a prenatal consultation.

Students from the University of Virgina have returned to produce a working ceramic filter. I really wish I had more time to explain the project, but actually it is so fast of a topic I'm going to hold off on explaining it completely. (If you're really interested now, Google "Potters for Peace".) That is taking a lot of time currently. Also, we'll be planting certain types of annual leguminous tree species in certain demonstration plots. (What the heck did I just say!? Right?) Planting certain trees that fix large amounts of nitrogen in their leaves and/or their roots. This improves soil fertility in a sustainable way. The rest of the rainy season we'll be writing grants for reforestation, a library project (mostly likely at the moment) and a training regarding the installation of check dams to reduce soil erosion and increase water filtration to augment wells.

On the lighter side, we have a wonderful cat that chases lizards and insects. Unfortunately, mice are too intelligent for her and she decides to attack our legs instead.

Pictures are coming. The website is not working currently to upload.


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