Greetings From Zambia

Greg BixlerUncategorized2 Comments

I write to you from deep in the bush in Mumbwa area, Zambia. Accompanying me is a journalist named Amelia, and a Design Outreach partner named Dina.

We have had a couple amazing days here, though exhausting, but God is at work! We arrived at the Mumbwa ADP on Monday and were warmly greeted by nearly a dozen staff. After introductions, I was able to present the first part of our training, which lasted about 2 hours. The pump minders (technicians), WASH managers, and other staff were all really engaged and asked good questions. Dina and I were able to glean some good ideas for minor training improvements. As always we ran into a hiccup when one of our tools for the gearbox training didn’t work as expected, which we will fix and send back. Other than that, Wilfred (ADP manager) said that the training seemed straight forward and the LifePump is appropriate technology. We learned that World Vision (WV) Zambia is very excited to install more LifePumps, and will install their remaining 2 within 2 weeks.

After training in the office, we headed out to the first site, which is called Big Concession. The road is very bumpy and covered in dust even though it’s still rainy season. After a couple hours of photo 2driving, we arrived at the LifePump in Big Concession, and it was a beautiful site to see. Dina and Amelia were also both impressed — seeing this machine that we’ve worked on for so long producing water where it wasn’t possible before. This well is a whopping 95 meters deep when you include boreholes, which is very very deep. (The pump itself is 60 meters or 20 pipes deep). The village people were there too, and were very thankful. We took various measurements on the pump, installed the new SonSet Solutions satellite data logger, and provided village level training to the village water committee members. This lasted about one hour. There was an old man at the well pumping who claims to be 107 years old, and he pumped about 20 gallons of water! The people feel the pump is easy to use, and we didn’t see any signs of performance degradation. And then the village provided us a wonderful dinner.

On the next day we went to the ADP office after staying in a nearby hotel. After a wonderful time of singing some old hymns and a short devotion with the WV staff, we headed out to the Kafwikamo Primary School, where a LifePump was installed last November. When we arrived after another long bumpy ride, we saw many people around the school. We met the School Manager and learned many interesting things. He was describing that the LifePump replaced an India Mark II at their school. The India Mark II would break down every 3 months and cost the school too much money in maintenance, which cut from their school supply budget. He also talked about how the LifePump is easier for the kids, and that they are growing a large garden now (which we saw, complete with tomatoes, corn, and other greens). This LifePump serves about 500 people, with about 375 of those kids from the school. He was very very thankful for the LifePump. We also took various measurements on pump performance, and provided village level maintenance training.

After visiting the Kafwikamo Primary School site we drove really deep into the bush to another school called Kawane Community School. This school is located in a former national parphoto 3k so we were looking for elephants along the way, but unfortunately didn’t see any. Last November the school received an India Mark II pump and we saw the old open dug well along the way. It’s about 5 km from the school, and people would go there to get water for the school. When we arrived at the school, we saw the India Mark II with lots of people around again. The pump is unfortunately not working good and is losing it’s prime very quickly. The first person in the morning must pump 35 minutes to first get water – a big problem. This would be a perfect site for the LifePump — we just need a donor to help us place one there. The kids were a lot of fun and made me miss my little Brody and Rachel.

Since the day was long, we ended the day in Mumbwa again and plan to drive into Lusaka to fly to Lilongwe Malawi on Wednesday.

This trip is my 4th to Africa now and it’s always a great reminder for me personally on why we do what we do. The transformation is hard to describe in words or pictures. I’m thankful that Amelia is along capturing this story for Pumps & Systems magazine — she has seen and heard many wonderful stories how the LifePump is changing lives. It’s wonderful to be using the engineering skills God has given me to serve people in the name of Jesus. This is the rainy season and people are still short on water — especially clean water. During the long dry season (where, of course, there is less water) people desperately need water for drinking, cooking, washing, and gardens for food security. We’ve heard stories of people walking hours every day for water and being so tired at the end of the day that they can’t even prepare supper. We are so blessed to live in a country where we don’t have to worry about such things. It’s such a privilege to be representing the entire DO team — our volunteers, our partners, our donors, and our prayer warriors. Thank you!

2 Comments on “Greetings From Zambia”

  1. Good day,
    As a child of 9 years old in 1958 an uncle of mine had an interest in The Big Concession, Zambia. Our family spent two lovely, long holidays there, catching a lot fish.

    I will be going to that area again this winter, visiting th Mushingashi Consevancy. I cannot get any info or maps showing showing the location of The Big Concessio and I see from your writing that you have been there, so I was wondering if you could perhaps be of any assistance? It would be highly appreciated, I’d love to go and visit there again and see if I can recognize our old camp site It was not to far from some hot springs

    Kind regards

    Paul van Pletzen

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