Rainwater collection at Lewis & Tammy’s home.

The week before our arrival in Tanzania, Lewis Short posted a picture on Facebook, showing the water that his family had available: about 3 gallons. Three gallons for cooking, drinking, flushing toilets, showers, and everything else for a family of 5–and we were going to be staying with them. So one of the first projects we tackled was a rainwater collection system for their house. It would help, once the rainy season started.

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We bought several tanks, and we hired a welder to modify the Short’s tower so we could install a 2000 liter tank in the base. We also had him build a cradle for the water pipe running from the main house to the tower, so the line wouldn’t sag when it was full of water.

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Twyla catching water

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Ralph, Lewis & Albert collecting water

Soon after we started building the system, it started raining. The rainy season finally arrived, 3 weeks late. We had tanks, but we didn’t have them plumbed in, so we gathered as much water as possible. It made a real difference to have water!

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Before we finished, we had 10,000 liters of storage, and that was full before we left. We learned a lot about available materials and provided a water collection system for the Short family.

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