Monday, August 27, 2012

Kures Water Well Work Completed

Kures Community Well # 1 … 12 km north of Kitale … Kitale to Kisawai road.
The well will now be serving 3 communities … Recompletion of the well that has been nonfunctional for over 2½ years. 

Steps (photos); After removing all the old damaged pipe, bad pump, and clearing the silted well bore, completion begins with tripping in the new pump. Next; the new pipe is lowered into well bore, making up connections every 6 meters, followed by installing the hanger plate, and setting the well head.

Pull Rods had to be tripped in and out several times because pump seals kept getting damaged. Finally a succesful run.


After completion, happy children wash and play in the water, while a young mother gathers water for her family.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Heavy Rains ... testing even the strong shelters ...

Housing and shelters in the outer regions of Kitale … similar durability issues exist.

Unique thatched roof design from South Sudan … tall grasses are plentiful and make this type construction easier.

Heavy rains this afternoon and continuing tonight – testing the durability of many of the shelters & the fortitude of the people. Wonderful for the maize crops but very difficult living conditions for many.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Paths to Self-Sustainability

Education of the youth is a must to get out of the poverty cycle. Many communities are striving for this while others have no facilities, materials, or teachers to even begin the process for their children.

Low cost greenhouses can provide not only food but also jobs whereby “energizing the commerce within these developing villages”.

Maji ... Water ...

Beginning our water well work.
Children’s health is increased 100 fold with the fresh water from the new well.

Water tower, while expensive, is a good addition to any water system for management during times of a lower water table.

Community ...

In some villages, the people will work on a project together … to build a Community Center/Clinic/Church/Business multiuse facility.

The people of one village line up for a gathering outside their facility, which in this case though is in a state of severe disrepair.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rain; Water but now Flooding

Photos tell the stories

Flooding creates concerns for dwellings and makes our travel very tricky & anxious, while the children look at it as a time for play … they probably have it right!


Shelter / Housing

Shelters come in a wide variety of materials and construction methods. All have their benefits as well as their own shortfalls.
The common concerns have to do with the longevity of the structure and the reliability of the enclosures.

The thatched grass shelters while easily constructed have to be rebuilt approximately every 2 years, and are of course not fire proof to any degree.  If not rebuilt or poorly constructed initially, require plastic tarps, sheets or bags to be placed on them to maintain some form of rain proof protection.

Mud clay structures on the other hand require a longer, more labor intense construction process but are more durable and add some, although not a large amount of, fire proof qualities. They too deteriorate over time, and require major rework or total re-construction.


From the Engineering perspective there are many concepts in incubation to provide alternatives. There are several demands for these new prototypes which will develop over time. Rapid response (e.g. for refugee camps), deliverability to very, very remote sites, fire resistant/proof, long life, cultural acceptance, and cost are some of the design challenges.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Unique livestock of the Kenyan Turkana herdsmen …

 And it’s always nice to have our escari  (security guard) nearby …

A New Sovereign Nation

20 Aug 2012
After over 50 years of civil war and violent fighting, on July 9th, 2011, South Sudan was recognized by the International Community and the United Nations as a sovereign nation.

Flew on MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) from Lokichoggio, Kenya to Juba, South Sudan; the nation’s capital. After passing Immigration steps, were forced to sit out a heavy rainstorm prior to continuing our journey.
Met with Government official to discuss our interest in providing water and shelter/housing to any of South Sudan’s developing Villages. He was very supportive and his comments reinforced our strategy of self-sustaining; stating that “If the people know how to, and can make their own food, then they eat with dignity”. A wonderful focus of our work.
After crossing the Nile River, commenced the journey to Torit, our destination in South Sudan. The roads continue to be a major obstacle in travel with continued stop, bounce, thud, bounce and go, repeated over and over for some 4½ hours. After all, these are the roads that the original Land Rover was designed for.
Torit was the location of the first shots of the war for independence - very historical site in the life of this young 13 month old nation. 
With all the recent rains, this region of the country is very lush with full vegetation, nestled at the foothills of the Sudanese mountain ranges. The rains however now threaten to flood many villages and worse yet, destroying many crops. These are some of the challenges the peoples of the small, remote, developing villages continually face.

They remain internally optimistic and are extremely welcoming to visitors from the USA. Multiple times, we were thanked for the support the US provided in accomplishing their independence, their freedom, liberty and prosperity.

Juba - Capital of new country; South Sudan ... and signs still exist on the road to Torit from the Civil Wars that lead to the formation of the new country. 

Kakuma Refugee Camp

19 Aug 2012
Drive to Lokichoggio, Kenya, site of the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Kakuma was developed in 1992 in response to the need of the refugees of the genocide in Sudan; the “Lost Boys of Sudan”. It grew further as a result on the conflicts in Rwanda and later in Somalia. At its peak, the population was 100,000. Today it’s at 50,000. The UN managed camp is divided into sections based upon nationalities. The camp is a city to itself now, with a variety of businesses and retail operations managed by the refugees. The UN still continues to supply food to each section, as well as security and first aid.
A wide-wide variety of shelter construction has developed in the camp, far past the original UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) tents that were provided for the Lost Boys. A lot of the UNHCR’s materials can still be found though throughout the camp used for a variety of purposes (roof covering, wall fabric & interior partitions).


We had lunch in a small restaurant in the Ethiopian Section of the Camp. A true experience of life in the camp.

Efforts continue to resettle the refugees back to their home countries as soon as practical.

Reaching out

17 & 18 Aug 2012
To provide accessible water, shelter, and seeding development projects for basic living needs, while promoting developing villages to become self-sustaining physically and fiscally.
Using Lodwar as our base, traveled to six villages, of the Tukana tribe, to some of the most remote locations in all of Kenya.

Recent unseasonal heavy rains, while welcomed from a water standpoint, have created flash flooding and major damage to roadways and river crossings. Travel to the remote locations not only was bone jarring but was a very slow process. Not to mention the delay when one of our vehicles become stuck in the desert sands.

Patience is developed quickly in Kenya

14 & 15 Aug 2012

DFW / London – Heathrow / Nairobi

16 Aug 2012
Intra-Kenyan Travel

Nairobi / Lodwar (north-east Kenya)

Checked into “Country Palace Hotel” in Lodwar … it will be a nice place to stay when it is completed. The power outage during the evening created a few troubles but also provided an unrestricted view of a beautiful equatorial night sky that far surpassed any inconveniences.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Headed Back To Where We Left Off ...

14 August 2012
Tuesday/Wednesday Travels: DFW - London - Nairobi - Kitale - Lodwar (Northwest Kenya) - South Sudan ... then back to Kitale.

Water wells
Prototype Shelter for extreme poverty situations and refugee camps.