“In addition, we had a school garden, whereby you plant some vegetables, rice, but after installing that Playpump, we failed to get that garden, and now it’s dry.”
“So because of the Playpump, now you no longer have a garden at your school?”
“Yes. We have water problems.”
The following is an interview Duncan and I recorded with the Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, and another teacher at Mikolongo (Chikonde) School, Chikhwawa District, Malawi. We shot this video after filming the now (slightly) famous Playpump vs. AfriDev video posted on this blog last March. The Playpump at this school was installed by UK-based NGO One Difference, as indicated on their website here. One Difference uses money raised through the sale of a bottled water product, One Water, to support the installation of Playpumps in rural Africa. Check out this link to see some of their reasoning behind supporting Playpumps.
Enjoy the video. As usual, we’re not documentary film makers, but we are talking to the right people. A written transcript of the interview is provided below. (Also, BIG thanks to Josh Workman from the Vancouver City Chapter of EWB for editing and subtitling!)
Interview with Teachers at Mikolongo School, Chikhwawa District, Malawi, March, 2010..
0:00 Can you start by telling us your names and your positions?
0:06 I’m Mr. Nkupuki Deputy Head Teacher, Mikorongo School.
0:13 I’m Mr. Mzunga, Head Teacher, Mikorongo School.
0:18 I’m Justin, Teacher, Section 10, at this school.
0:25 And when was this PlayPump installed?
0:30 It was installed last year, in June.
0:36 And what was the process to install? Did the school request to have a Playpump?
0:42 At first we had a borehole.
0:47 And then what happened?
0:49 And the borehole it was alright, and all of a sudden, they came, a certain organization, to replace that borehole with the Playpump.
0:60 Did they ask you before they replaced it?
1:03 No, they didn’t ask us. Just come and say that we are going to replace this borehole with this Playpump because we are…they said the government invited these Playpumps from South Africa, so we want to try these here in Malawi.
1:26 And at this school, which one do you prefer: the Playpump, or the borehole that you had before?
1:31 We prefer the borehole we had before.
1:34 Why is that?
1:35 It was very fast. We had no any difficult when we were playing with that borehole, than this Playpump.
1:49 In addition the Playpump is also difficult to, anylike, to draw some water than this borehole, because they can’t draw that Playpump to draw some water.
2:02 And the kids, do they play on the Playpump?
2:07 Is it enough to fill the tank?
2:10 Since it was installed, they have never filled the tank.
2:21 Do you have any questions Duncan?
2:23 Did you have any problems with the borehole?
2:25 No, we had no problems with the borehole. Everything was alright. Because they said “we want to try this technology” and our school was picked as a pilot project.
2:36 Oh, as a pilot project?
2:38 And then will they come back to check on the Playpump?
2:41 No. No, they failed. They said once we get problems we should phone them, but one day we had a pipe that was broken, so we phoned them…they didn’t come.
2:52 How long ago was this? How long ago did that happen?
3:00 Four months.
3:04 And what did you do with the broken pipe?
3:07 We tried our best to use our…to use our initiative?
3:13 Oh, so you just fixed it yourself?
3:17 Do you have anywhere else around the school where you can get water?
3:20 No, we don’t have.
3:24 So if you could have this Playpump removed and have a new AfriDev handpump back, which would you prefer?
3:30 Ya, we can prefer that new handpump, rather than this one. This one, ah, it’s too much boring [tiring for community members to use]. It’s not working properly. Because we have the enrolment and the community, we have more people than we get little water from that Playpump. Then, in order to make the system goes well, to get water properly, than we need a very good pump that can manage to supply water to the number of people around the school grounds.
4:08 In addition, we had a school garden, whereby you plant some vegetables, rice, but after installing that Playpump, we failed to get that garden, and now it’s dry.
4:28 So because of the Playpump, now you no longer have a garden at your school?
4:30 Yes. We have water problems.
4:34 I’m very sorry.
4:36 So if you could send one message to the people who installed that Playpump, what would you say?
4:41 Ah, they don’t answer.
4:44 Ah, in addition, especially we should say: if the message can go to them, then I think they should come, and remove that Playpump, and replace our old one. Maybe we can stay a little bit better than that one.
5:03 If even another organization may come and replace that one with a certain system, maybe an electrical pump, or a solar pump it can be a very good thing rather than that one. Because they come here, they said: “this pump is a very good one”, talking about that one, Playpump, to us not knowing that it is very boring [slow to use]. They realized very early that, ah, this pump cannot assist us. Then we may wish other organizations to come and remove that one.
5:39 Ok, that one is best for only children. They just play there, and draw some water to drink for them. But ??? and community, that one is boring. If they can give us another borehole, and leave that pump – no problem – because our learners or pupils will go to play there. They enjoy it. They enjoy it but to us, we have got a problem with water. We spend hours and hours waiting for some people to draw some water.