Our first two days, Larry and I visited completed project sites and were thrilled with our project progress. Today, we mixed things up and visited schools that are candidates for Rotary and Splash International installing drinking and hand-washing stations.

Bole Addis Primary School proved to be a good case study for why we are installing these systems. Currently, the school has 18 taps, many of which are non-functional and without pressure, and a student body of over 3,500. The principal also mentioned that when the school gets water from these few taps, the water only comes three days a week. Water quality and safety remains a concern for the administration as the school’s water often comes out red because of dirt, rust, and chemicals from nearby construction.

Due to the low tap-pressure many of the children have to suck on the taps increase the water flow, risking the spread of communicable diseases. Another shocking part of this was that there are no washing stations next to the bathrooms. Our program will fix both of these problems, and we will monitor progress through twice yearly observational audits by local Rotaractors (Rotary’s young professional organization).

After wrapping up our visits to potential sites, we had a nice lunch with three Rotarians from the Addis Ababa West Club who are our team lead counterparts. That evening, I also met with two Ethiopians who are my brother’s friends and used to live in Fairbanks, Alaska near where we grew up. It was fascinating to hear about the cultural differences between the two places from their perspective, and they certainly did not miss having to walk around town in 40 below!

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