A pictorial recap from late July 2016 Hopewell Valley Students Kenya Trip -Borehole water soon to flow in Nyanchonori!
Nyanchonori Village, Southwestern Kenya, East Africa, July 24, 2016 – What a day it was in a small southwestern Kenyan village on a tea-growing mountaintop in late July 2016 when an estimated 250 local residents of all ages – from infant to elderly – gathered with about 30 visiting representatives from Hopewell Valley, New Jersey (NJ), USA, to celebrate the official commissioning of a recently drilled water borehole – the first of its kind for the greater community in this rural area.
A visual glimpse of that week’s activities follows . . . .
The first borehole of its type in Nyamira County, Kenya
The borehole itself: Well, it may not look like much – a mere pipe (above) sticking out of the ground, with a metal cap soldered on top until the day, soon to come, when water will be piped to large holding tanks a bit further uphill for use by the greater community.
But, for this community at this time, this borehole, even in its infant state, already marks a new beginning for the residents of this small multi-village area who currently do not have easy access to clean, dependable, running water for drinking, bathing or household use year-round. This 200-meter-deep borehole – more than 650 feet down, drilled in the center of Nyanchonori in March 2016 – has been years in the making. And, upon its drilling this past spring, it’s already proven itself to be a true gusher, a strong, productive underground source of potable water, just waiting to serve area residents.
Once the final needed pumping equipment and distribution pipes are in place presumably before the end of this calendar year, this borehole should provide fresh water to area residents, eliminating the need for villagers, primarily women and children, to hand-haul water, by bucket or other vessel, from distant springs, streams or other sources one or more times each day, a task that can take some village families up to 12 hours each day, as found by a special water survey of area residents, conducted by the NJ-based non-profit organization, Hopewell-Keroka Alliance (HKA), in late July 2016. The resulting time savings, and the health benefits derived from, clean water should prove an economic boon and quality-of-life blessing.
How did this borehole come to pass? In a special cross-cultural bond, students within the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, based in Pennington, NJ, have hosted fund-raisers (including bake sales, soccer all-nighters and water walks) over the past eight years to raise more than $14,000 US total to drill this borehole and help turn the dream of healthful, easily accessible water into a reality for the people of Nyanchonori and surrounding villages in these highlands.
More specifically, working together since 2008 to raise funds for this borehole project have been students primarily from Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS), along with HKA board members and volunteers, all from the greater Hopewell Valley area in west-central New Jersey.
HKA New Jersey is a tax-exempt, non-profit charitable organization that works hand in hand with its sister organization HKA Keroka, based in Nyanchonori Village, the latter organization of which manages wide-ranging community-desired health, education and infrastructure-improvement projects on the ground in Kenya. HKA New Jersey has raised about$170,000 US total over the past eight years in support of these projects. Both HKA New Jersey and HKA Keroka are all-volunteer organizations, their board members each giving freely of personal time and talent. (For more information or to donate funds or volunteer your time, please see: www.hkalliance.org.)
In a new cooperative venture, this borehole and its accompanying water-distribution system are being jointly funded by both HKA New Jersey and the government of Nyamira County, Kenya. HKA had initiated this borehole project by funding an earlier geologist’s report on water availability and environmental impact. In turn, the county intends to install the borehole pump and motor and a solar-powered supply system, among other items, according to one county official in late July 2016.
One important note: Once operating, this borehole will continue to be supplemented by other ongoing local sources of water for area residents, including rooftop rainwater collection and hand-fetching of water at local streams or springs.
The community gathers: Above, in late July 2016, an estimated 250 local villagers, county-government officials and Hopewell Valley representatives gathered for what was called a Borehole-Commissioning Day to celebrate the drilling and near-completion of the new borehole (right foreground above), the first well of its kind regionally in this part of Kenya. The goal: By the end of this calendar year, piping from this borehole could be in place to newly installed water-holding tanks at the top of the adjacent hill or perhaps to yet-to-be-built strategically placed kiosks, with metering, ensuring equitable water usage amongst residents. At the time of this celebration, two 10,000-liter water tanks already sit in place, empty and waiting, with an additional 50,000-liter tank still to come.
Prepared by Jane Lee, a Journalist and HKA board member, August 2016