Steve and Linda Kovacs of Swim Blue headed to Uganda for the third year in a row, this time as part of the H2O 4 ALL initiative to provide clean drinking water for orphans of the civil war. The team helped build sustainable solar-powered clean water rainwater collection and filtration systems.
A volunteer team of 10 Canadians, including Steve and Linda Kovacs of Waterscene, traveled to the tiny village of Gulu in northern Uganda, as well as other parts of the country, to install drinking water systems and sustainable food fish farms.
The Gulu village houses orphaned children between the ages of 2 and 12 who are recovering from the effects of civil war or the ravages of AIDS. Steve and Linda have been part of two prior clean water installation trips to Africa.
Solving a growing problem
In recent years, these orphanages have faced extreme challenges due to the shortage of safe drinking water. Many wells have collapsed, contaminating the water with poisonous gases. Drilling new wells is a costly process, and the nation’s government has been closing orphanages unless they can sustain themselves with safe drinking water.
An initiative called H2O 4 ALL helps develop rainwater harvesting systems which allows these villages to collect and filter abundant rainwater as a source of clean drinking water.
The H2O 4 ALL projects include automated solar power water treatment plants using proprietary technology developed by Canadian water purification experts Genieye Systems Inc. that can produce over 10,000 liters of clean drinking water for the village each day. The clean water improves the children’s health and subsequently all life opportunities. The clean water will also give the children opportunities to develop new sustainability skills with agricultural farming involving fish, meat, vegetables, dairy and poultry.
H2O 4 ALL has installed 5 automated solar powered drinking water systems presently operating in various villages in Uganda, East Africa and Ghana, West Africa.
One of the most memorable parts of the trip happened when an underground river was found by accident in one orphan village that was scheduled to be closed due to its loss of clean water.
When a bulldozer became stuck and began sinking, locals worked feverishly to dig it out. As they did, water began seeping to the surface and an underground stream was discovered. The village once again had a source of safe drinking water. The team helped install a containment basin.
Trip a big success
The team of Canadian volunteers, including five people from South Delta, took part in a trip to Uganda to help provide sustainable food and water to this thirsty region. The team included Steve and Linda Kovacs of Waterscene, Lee Mussell, Gunnvor Felland and Dale Maranda. The trip was funded in part through donations organized by South Delta Baptist Church.
The team of 10 Canadians worked with local villagers in each community, setting up rainwater collection and filtration systems for orphanages. In addition, H2O4All completed construction of a fish farm in partnership with Surrey’s Pacific Academy at an orphanage ten hours drive south of Gulu, so that the local community could feed themselves on an ongoing basis rather than relying on the ever-diminishing supply of donated food from western nations.
Another five hour drive south of Gulu took the team to Subi, where they began construction of another fish farm. Water pumping stations were installed, filtering rainwater to provide clean water. Existing wells have become contaminated, and are expensive to construct. Rainwater collection systems are effective and much less costly to install than building new wells.
Team members also assisted by teaching in the local schools, helping the local people in various ways, and providing valuable consulting services.