Dear 52 Pumps in 52 Weeks Supporters,

The word success starts leading and tempting, moves to the harsher K, and is instantly comforted and lulled to the end. Phonetically the dictionary spells it as such: sək’ses and defines it as “achieving the desired aims.”

The sound of success itself describes the bush-path we’ve taken in completing this pump project. We started excited at the possibilities that could unfold, thinking grandiose with water pumping strong, fast, and clean, mass media and documentaries. We had in our minds fountains and water-parks where villagers could be in clean water bliss, kids could run around in their shorts throwing freshly pumped buckets of water on each other and women would chug down clear water from transparent cups in the sunshine. We made, what we saw at the time to be, a very practical plan to “achieve our desired aims.” Little did we know the harsh abysmal k sound would be the next phase of our journey.

We found ourselves with growing pains as we moved forward. The process to installation was not as streamlined as we had believed and the heavy rains of the season slowed our work. We quickly realized the plan would have to change and our pride would take a back seat if we were going to do this project right. Our hyped-up expectations of success where completely trampled, but sometimes success comes from “rapidly fixing our mistakes rather than getting it right the first time.” Tenaciously, we moved forward with only a small tinge of hope that it would get better, but lo and behold the ses ended the journey with ease and tranquility.

The last 6 months have been incredible for this project. We made friends and found colleagues that were more equipped than we could ever hope to be and they took on some of the pressure we had put on ourselves. The process became more efficient, installing became far more fun, and we felt the support of all our communities be it through the internet, here in the villages, or from Water Charity.

We want to thank you very much for your support and encouragement for the last year. It has been a somewhat sublime road. We indefatigably averaged the installation of one pump every two weeks and went from having a basic understanding of the pump and its intricacies to streamlining the installation process and establishing partners who will continue the job with successful profitable pump businesses. With your help we installed 31 pumps in 22 communities and provided access to clean water for 3,354 people. Without the monetary and moral support you all gave us this would not have been possible. Thank you and thank Water Charity!

Successfully,

Marcie and Garrison

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#31 Saare Bidji, Completion

Though Saare Bidji has electricity, they have no cell phone service and so we could not call before the installation to let them know of our arrival date. Regardless of whether they were ready or not, we packed-up the car on Wednesday and headed out for the installation. When we arrived the town felt empty. There was hardly anyone to be seen and this usual bustling small town felt like a ghost town. As the team started to get to work I went searching to the President, but instead found his right-hand man Bocar. Bocar informed us that it was the first day of school and that everyone in town had gone to help clean the school up before the start of actual classroom sessions.

Once 11 am rolled around and the installation was mostly done we started to see teachers dressed in slacks and button-up, kids in their best outfits and moms rushing to heat up the morning snack. The air of the town felt uncannily similar to my lower school days. As the kids were walking out of the school compound they rushed over to see our mornings work. A few stuck around as we finished the job and drank the morning ataya. I couldn’t have asked for a better, simpler, lovelier installation for our last pump of the project.

Pump Output:  40 Liters/ Min

Total Number of People Benefiting: Approximately 480 men, women and children

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#31 Saare Bidji, Community Well

Location: Saare Bidji, Kolda, Senegal

Community Description: On the out-skirts of Kolda sits a small, one runway airport. Behind the airport, down a sandy bush path, which parallels a string of electrical poles, nestled in into a plethora of trees is Saare Bidji. Each plane that flies over Saare Bidji is a wondrous event as the children run to the fields to get a more clear view of the metal horse of the sky. Their gigantic smiles transition to excited screams, “abion, abion”, which is supposed to be avion, the French word for plane.

Saare Bidji is home to about 1,000 people and many more non-residents flow through during the year to either work in the school or in the fields. Saare Bidji is the capitol of its Rural Community, which is composed of 300 other villages ranging from 50 to 500 people per village. As the capitol, Saare Bidji owns a school, a health post, multiple government offices, and a home belonging to the president of the whole Rural Community.

Project Description: The president of the Rural Community built a well last year that is used by 60 families for all their daily water needs. We will install a Erobon Rope Pump, which will help these families pull more water in less time.

Project Impact: 60 families; approximately 480 men women and children

Peace Corps Volunteers Directing Project: Marcie Todd and Adrian Martinez

Dollar Amount of Project: $150.00

Donations Collected to Date: $0.00

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#30 Toubacouta, Completion

This is our last Toubacouta area pump and of course with the finish line in sight things couldn’t possibly just go according to plan.  Well mainly they did with the exception of two work days being interrupted because of the last rains of the season.  We started preparations for this pump back in September and right before we were about to bring out the cement and start casting the cap, the sky opened up like I’ve never seen before.  It was the single biggest rainstorm of the season and as such it pushed our start date off another two weeks.

During our second attempt it also rained but this time we waited it out and were able to get the work done!  We came back 5 days later for the install and like clockwork everything clicked.  Lamine made his most beautiful pump yet, Paco and his brothers helped out with the heavy lifting and tea making, and I pretty much just watched.  Marcie and I are obsolete in this project now.  I could have just supplied the funding and come back two weeks later and the result would have been exactly the same.  For Lamine and I this was our last pump together and this result leaves me with absolute confidence that he will continue as a successful pump specialist for years to come.

Pretty soon all the prep was done and it was time to turn the wheel. Somehow this moment is still suspenseful even after all these pumps.  Of course the pump worked beautifully. Immediately everyone was cheering and drinking from the spout and smiling like they had just won the lottery.  Paco thanked us probably about a thousand times and immediately started planning with Lamine to purchase another pump for the other well.  With the vegetables they produce using this pump they should soon have enough money to purchase another one completely on their own.  This is how development work should be, a small initial investment that increases capacities and needs not be repeated.

Surely there are problems with dependency from international aid.  We have found with this project though that if you search hard enough and get to know the local environment you can find those people for whom a contribution will be a catalyst for future growth rather than just a one time gift.  We are done here in Toubacouta but we leave behind a wonderful resource for motivated farmers to allow them to dream and succeed completely on their own.  In time they will forget that Peace Corps ever worked on pumps, and that is exactly how it should be.

Pump Output: 40 Liters/ Min

Total Number of People Benefiting: The 15 direct family members will benefit from the pump along with 30 other local women who work small individual plots in the garden as well.

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#30 Toubacouta, Community Garden Well

Location: Toubacouta, Fatick, Senegal

Community Description: Toubacouta is a beautiful Mandinkan village located right on the Sin Saloum Delta.  People here are mainly farmers and fisherman, but due to the beauty of the area there is also a substantial tourist industry with several large hotels providing employment for a large number of local residents.  This influx of tourists and money has its downsides however mainly in that more and more people are turning to commercial work, or work in larger cities rather than subsistence farming.  This is usually beneficial, but less so when the economy slumps and tourism wanes.  Many people are thus left caught between two worlds. They see the possibility of and want a modern western life but are left without the means to attain it and end up turning somewhat reluctantly to agriculture to survive.  This reluctance often results in mediocre yields and little forward progress.

Project Description: That being said this is not the case today.  These problems are real but as often as they arise there are individuals who rise to the occasion with real enthusiasm and ambition.  Meet Paco Diadhiou.  He and his family live in Toubacouta and recently took out a substantial loan and signed a contract to produce mangoes and papayas for export to Europe.  This entire family has been farming for generations and they see it not as a fall back but as their road to prosperity.  They are incredibly hardworking and ambitious and are always eager to try new technologies or techniques.  We plan to install a pump on one of their two wells in order to help them increase their vegetable production in the garden.  This will provide them with a steady stream of cash and food while they wait for the trees to start producing.

Project Impact: The 15 direct family members will benefit from the pump along with 30 other local women who work small individual plots in the garden as well.

Peace Corps Volunteers Directing Project: Garrison Harward

Dollar Amount of Project: $150.00

Donations Collected to Date: $0.00

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#29 Sippo, Completion

This was by far the most fun I have had installing a rope pump.  Firstly taking a boat through the mangroves to get to the site just sets everything up to feel like an adventure.  The villagers were enthusiastic and welcoming, the weather was beautiful and everything went just about as perfectly as it could possibly go.  We started the process like usual with the well cap.  We were initially really worried because the sunny morning quickly turned into massive thunder storms and our cement got caught in the rain.  Luckily the clouds parted and we were able to just mix it up really quickly before it set.

We came back a week later for the install and apart from some logistical problems with catching our boat (we were at the wrong dock) everything went off without a hitch.  Lamine, the Toubacouta producer, took charge of everything.  He organized the village, mounted the pump, glued the pipe, threaded the rope.  We mostly just sat around taking pictures.  This might sound like laziness but in reality we just weren’t needed, and that’s exactly how it should be.  Lamine has become a fantastic producer and an expert on this system.  He knows it inside and out, can trouble shoot just about any problem and keeps making improvements to the design with every pump.

Less then an hour after we started the install we were done and as you can see this pump is one of our most efficient ever. The village thanked us in the usual fashion, handshakes, invitations for lunch and tea, and of course a promise to come and visit each other in the future.   As we were leaving Lamine said we needed to make one stop at another persons house.  It turns out that he had sold a pump to an individual household on the island and it was having some problems.  He quickly made a few adjustments and then it was working great once again.  This little tune up was free of charge.  That’s just the kind of guy Lamine is.  He’s also the kind of guy who wears a Winnie the Pooh hat.  Its hard to see but its in the pictures if you look really close.

Pump Output: 43 Liters/ Min

Total Number of People Benefiting: All 35 women who work in the garden along with their families will benefit from increased watering capacities.

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#29 Sippo, Community Garden Well

Location: Sippo, Fatick, Senegal

Community Description: As you can probably tell by the pictures the village of Sippo is an Island village.  Its located about 15k into the delta off the coast of Toubacouta.  The main source of income for the villagers comes from fishing and oyster collection, but they also participate in some small scale farming and gardening activities.  Culturally this is one of the most diverse villages we’ve ever worked in.  They have Wolof, Serere, Mandinkan, and Pulaar families all living together in this remote community.

The village is a beautiful oasis surrounded by mangroves and forest located just outside of the Bamboung wildlife reserve.  The village contributes to the preservation of the area and helps to run an eco-lodge called Keur Bamboung.  If you’re ever in the area check it out.  Its one of the true gems of Senegal.  http://oceanium.ak-project.com/L-ecolodge-Keur-Bamboung.html

Project Description: Living on an Island is beautiful but it presents certain problems.  Everything not directly pulled from the ocean is scarce here.  That includes building supplies, medicines, staple foods like rice and millet, and also fruits and vegetables.  There is one womens garden on the island which provides some food for the village, but production is not very efficient and with only one well it is difficult to pull enough water for all the women who work there to water their individual plots.  We will be installing a rope pump on this well in order to increase their watering capacities so that they can produce more vegetables leading to better self sufficiency on the island.

Project Impact:  All 35 women who work in the garden along with their families will benefit from increased watering capacities.

Peace Corps Volunteers Directing Project: Garrison Harward

Dollar Amount of Project: $150.00

Donations Collected to Date: $0.00

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