Urban aqueduct and drinking trough
Port-de-Bonheur, The gonave, Haiti
Gasmuha’s first project in Port-de-Bonheur
The village aqueduct was GasMuha’s very first project, still in 2016. Janusz had been living there for a few months, people wondered why, what would happen, previous experiences with NGOs had not been positive at all. The village of Port-de-Bonheur was formed perhaps two hundred years ago, by the first freed slaves, and was built around a natural well of slightly brackish water. Then the shacks of the village spread out in three directions starting from the well (the fourth direction is the sea). Even in 2016 that well was used to water about two thousand animals a day. Animals from afar converged towards the well, guarded by their masters. The owners took the water from the well with buckets of twenty liters, moved away about fifty meters, put the buckets down, chased away the animals of others, watered their own by hand. It was a very tiring process, which could take up to a third of the working day. A sturdy man could manage at most 3-4 cows, about twenty goats. In addition to the fatigue, the other problem was that the Port-de-Bonheur urban floor was perpetually covered with many centimeters of dung, left by animals in particular after drinking. The idea of changing this situation came to us when some notables explained the process to us, asking us if we could do something. We started designing, ordering the pieces. Pedrollo Spa has given us two 2 kW pumps. A missionary gave us about thirty used solar panels. We purchased the electronics from a Bassano supplier. Then the real work began. The village took charge of building a cistern on the hill and a drinking trough.
We at GasMuha, that is Janusz Gawronski and Pierluigi Magistrali, took the pickaxes in hand, started digging the six hundred meters of the main aqueduct. The pvc pipes had to be glued every six meters. The panels ended up temporarily on the roof of a friend’s house. Some connections have disappeared, forcing us to run to Port-au-Prince to buy them back. The villagers watched without participating, rather wary. After a month of work, one morning, abundant water began to come out of the pipes. The tank (80 cubic meters) has filled up. The water began to flow into the trough. Then it was the turn, one by one, of the forty fountains we had placed in each area of the village. Now people laughed. We remember well the spontaneous gestures of jubilation: children splashing themselves, a girl laughing at the first shower with running water of her life. The breeders weren’t sure what to do: abandon the old, manual way or trust GasMuha’s devilry?
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The aqueduct of the village of Port-de-Bonheur has been working perfectly since 2016. It has been built so that it can break without stopping (redundant pumps and electronics), without the expense of fuel to power the pumps (24 solar panels of 250 W). Today the animals watered are over three thousand, because the drinking trough has allowed anyone to start an animal park, without having to assign a strongman for the hours necessary to bring the animals to the well, to water them. Today the village is perfectly clean, with a great improvement in collective hygiene. People have gotten so used to being able to stock up on water outside their front door, or to be able to send a teenager with ten cows to drink, that they cannot imagine a return to the past.
On balance, this first major project cost less than twenty thousand US dollars (which was all the money we had).
Non c’è vittoria sulla povertà che non nasca dall’azione delle stesse persone povere, dalla loro capacità indipendente di generare sviluppo. GasMuha nasce per questo, per promuovere capacità e progettualità in persone che la povertà potrebbe precludere.
Il giorno più bello per GasMuha sarà quello in cui non ci sarà più bisogno di GasMuha.