I don’t know if anyone remembers, but in the village of Badzuidjong, a small village, hard to get to, about 45 minutes from Bangangte, Tara Smith the volunteer in Bare started a project build a potable water well there. In the whole village there was not one place to get potable water, and people from the village as well as kids from the orphanage would often get sick.

I asked a few months ago for your support to this project, and I’m happy to announce that the project has been completed!

I was the project manager and had a meeting with all of the stakeholders, including Father Michele, who runs the orphanage in Badzuidjong and Aladji, the AADB Director, who was charged with building the well. We set the schedule and Aladji got to work a few days afterwards. The planing phase was really helpful because project management isn’t really something thought about in Africa, and it got everyone on the same page as well as excited and motivated to go.

Like most development projects we ran into trouble. Aladji agreed to do the project at a barebones price because he is someone that cares about development but mostly because his star, Tara, convinced him to. He started working on a hole but once he got to about 20 meters, about two or three meters away from water he ran into bedrock. He sent extra people and tools to try to break thru it, but after a week of almost no progress, he decided to move the well elsewhere.

This would have meant that the project would be completed later than projected, but because we had planned a few days extra and Aladji started early, meant that we would still be able to finish the well in time.

The second well was a few meters away from the old one and after a few days, they had already found water. However, that is bad news because a well needs to be at least 10 meters for the water to be potable, at the new site they found it at 5 meters.

So off to another location, which meant there really would be a delay now. This new location however was deep enough and Aladji could finally continue. But when he installed the pump, it didn’t work properly – the pump was defective. So another delay of about a week as he had to uninstall the old one, return it (returning an expensive pump isn’t like going to Home Depot and asking for another one, plus remember the village is far and difficult to get reach) bargain for a new one, and come back and install it.

He did all that, and finally we were able to inagurate the well, about a month later than planned. Some of my brothers from Bangou went to support Aladji and their adopted sister Tara for a job well done.

In fact, the village was so grateful to finally have drinking water available to them, to finally be able to drink water without the danger of getting sick, that they gave Tara the village title of Mevrou Napte which translates to something like “Queen who fixes or arranges things”.

Before you go around thinking that Africans give out titles to everyone, Tara is the only volunteer other than me (and our national Peace Corps director who was given one in Bangangte) who have received titles in Cameroon.

I was happy to be there as a fellow notable and her good friend, with the rest of my Bangou family to support her on a great honor.

Check out her pictures and blog about it:

http://taraforpeace.blogspot.com/2009/06/bandzuidjong-installation-and-water.html

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