Reaching for the Sky (or at Least Pamoja Hall’s Roof)
Friday, May 31st, 2019
This morning the scaffolding finally arrived!…then we realized we didn’t have enough to reach the roof. Thankfully there was still plenty of work to be done on the roof and on the ground in Pamoja Hall. By the end of the day, more scaffolding had arrived and now we are ready to finish connecting the solar panels in the morning.
Dereck and I (Chris) spent the day working at the other end of the system with the pump controller. With the help of Phillip and Robert, two of the Kenyan workers, we got the input and output wires both into the controller house. The last question we needed to answer was to verify which wire color coming from the generator house at the controller corresponded with which wire leaving the generator house, since the wire was spliced somewhere in the middle, With a 9-volt battery and a little creativity we were able to verify that the wire colors matched and we were good to go.
The Land Development team started working with the Kenyan workers at digging the main trench for the irrigation system. They’ve just gotten to the road; it’s a good start but there’s still a long way to go.
On a different note, this morning I went into Ol Kalou with Elijah to buy some of the components and hardware we needed. That was definitely an interesting experience. We checked three stores for some of the wire we needed to buy. The first was a supermarket similar to a store in the US. The next two were a bit different. They were small shops just off the street with as much merchandise crammed in as possible. Rather than looking for what you needed to buy, you would tell the person working at the counter and they would dig around in the dense array of products for what you needed. The man working at the third store was quite a character. He started by asking me where I was from and before long he was trying to marry me off to a Kenyan girl.
The kids got home from school early today since it’s Friday, so we had plenty of time to play with them. We had so many people playing basketball tonight we had to rotate people out to the bench to keep the court from being too crowded. Playing basketball the past few nights has been a lot of fun, but the plan for tomorrow has what I’ve been waiting for: football (soccer)!. Not only is playing soccer with the kids exciting, but we’ll also be able to get out some of the gifts we brought with us. Crammed into our luggage among drills, pipes, wire strippers, and disconnect switches, we brought soccer balls, jerseys, and socks. A useful tip for anyone traveling with checked bags and needing to meet a specific weight: one pair of soccer socks weighs 0.2 pounds. I’m sure you’ll thank me later (or not, haha).
Our big goal and hope for tomorrow morning is to finish the wiring in Pamoja Hall. There are a few other small things to finish, but that is the last main task to complete before we can flip the switch on the solar pumping system. If all goes well, there should be water flowing by tomorrow afternoon.