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.