Hello, my name is Stephen Makyara, I am 32 years old and live with my family in Kidia, near Moshi. At the end of 2019 I heard about the SoWaDi project from Ichikael Malisa, because she was looking for volunteers to help building two SoWaDi plants in Kidia. I think it is very important that all children of Kidia Primary School should benefit from the plants, which also includes my son. I was very interested in helping with the construction of the plants in order to learn more about the function, the construction and important factors for the building of a solar thermal water disinfection plant. The last two weeks I was therefore involved in the construction of the first two plants in Kidia. During the construction we encountered several problems. The water containers were initially leaking and the glue we used did not hold well at first. Fortunately, we were able to solve the problem at the beginning of the week. The 10 meter long copper pipe has to be bent several times. To save time we first tried to buy a bending tool, but could not find one. In the beginning I was sceptical if it would work well to bend the copper pipe by yourself. In the end, bending the pipe worked better than expected.
When assembling the equipment I learned a lot about the alignment of the copper pipe to the input container. It is important that the container and the pipe are placed at the right distance to each other so that the water is heated sufficiently and all pathogenic bacteria are killed. However, one of the biggest challenges during construction was to provide the insulation for the plant. I know a lot about building houses and the materials needed to do so, in addition to the work with the animals that my family owns ( goats, a cow, chickens and a rooster), I build houses. But the houses here are not insulated. For the existing plants at Malage VTC, sisal was used to insulate. We could also get sisal from the Mwanga region for our plants. In the middle of the week we were able to complete the second plant here in Kidia. On Friday the plants were handed over to the teachers of the vocational school, who will use the plant together with the students every day. They discussed what to pay attention to when using the plant. In addition, the teachers will be in close contact with the users of the Malage VTC and the project team in Darmstadt for the next few years to collect and evaluate data and experiences of use over.
On Monday and Tuesday, Jonas and Rebecca visited the Meli Secondary School again, where the next two plants were supposed to be built. Unfortunately, they encountered problems in the final phase of preparations.In the end, no plants can be built at Meli Secondary School. We, the volunteers from the construction team, have therefore agreed to build two more facilities in Kidia at short notice. Two of my team members, Charles and Thomas, started buying materials for the other facilities on Wednesday. Since the facilities are no longer new to us and we know what is important when it comes to the materials needed, my team members were able to purchase the materials independently. Together with Ichikael, Julius and EdgarI visited possible locations for the two additional plants and the decision was made in favour of Kidia Secondary School. In addition to the school children of Kidia Primary School, the students of Kidia Secondary School can also benefit from the project. I will be part of the team again when the next two facilities are going to be built next week.
As I said, we successfully completed the second plant in the middle of the week. Thursday and Friday I had a long talk with Rebecca, Julius and Ichikael about my experiences as a craftsman and my impression of the SoWaDi plant. I hope that helps the SoWaDi team to find a suitable dissemination strategy so that as many people as possible can benefit from the project in the future. From my point of view SoWaDi has many advantages compared to other systems for water treatment. The people here in Kidia are currently using many resources to boil water. With the system we only need the sun. This saves a lot of work that we usually spend collecting firewood. Once the system is paid for and installed, there are no running costs. I hope that more SoWaDi plants will be built in the future.