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Copied from an email from Tom Koecher, International Service head of the Albina Rotary Club. If interested, please contact either Ron Kelemen or John Shirley.

Project Update:

  • In spite of a couple of setbacks, the water harvesting is almost complete.  We have been far more successful than imagined.  The original plan called for 8 tanks of varying sizes, 3 of which would be the largest size, 50 m3 (cubic meters or 13,208.6 gallons). What has actually happened is there will be 7 of the 50 m3 tanks constructed and was made possible through lower construction cost.  Five tanks were completed by the end of July with  the sixth tank completed by the end of September.  Tank #7 is in the final stages of construction and expected to be completed by the end of October.  By exclusively building all 50 m3 tanks, the village of El Ojoche will have an added water storage capacity of 92,460 gallons.  This is a 15,850 gallon increase over the original plan.   The village’s capacity to grow food during the dry season has been well enhanced.
  • According to Mike Coberley, our contact with the Rotary Club of Leon (our host country Rotary club), the wet season has been good for the village of El Ojoche and the constructed tanks were filled or filling at good rates.  Mike had also indicated that the water table does not appear to be rising as is expected during the rainy season (May thru November).  It is thought the underground aquifers were severely depleted this past dry season (December 2009 thru April 2010) as rain measurement was appreciably less than average.  This means the recently constructed tanks could not have been completed at a better time as it is clear reliance on the underground springs would mean significant water rationing this coming dry season.
  • Still in progress is the distribution and training related to the home garden irrigation kits.  You will recall that a primary driver behind this water harvesting project was to provide sufficient water resources to allow for the planting of crops during the dry season.  Our plan to address the irrigation need is to distribute home garden irrigation kits to the families requesting them.  It appears that at least 40 kits will be distributed although some recent project savings could allow that count to increase.
  • This project would not be the clear success it is destined to be without the involvement of our NGO partner, Food for the Hungry (FHI).  Without the knowledge of the people, customs, laws and skill at actively involving the local community, our success would be much reduced.  A key player for FHI is a gentleman named Mike Saeli.  Mike’s role as Project Coordinator for FHI means hands on involvement at every step of the project.  Unfortunately we lost Mike’s services for two months has he was battling prostate cancer.   Mike is now back in Nicaragua having completed his cancer therapy in the US.  Our best wishes Mike for your continued recovery and God bless you for your dedication.
  • In Mike’s absence, we were very fortunate to have two members of the Leon club managing the project.  Senor’s Roberto Reyes and Carlos Rojas Vega maintained oversight and made sure the tanks that were in construction when Mike Saeli left for medical care were completed.
  • Finally, our Leon club contact, Mike Coberley has returned from his mission with Food for the Hungry.  Mike brought this project to the Albina Club and has been instrumental in the development and management of the entire project.  Mike is now facing his own medical challenges but remains as involved as the day he proposed the project.  Our prayers Mike for your speedy recovery.
  • I have attached just a few pictures of the project to this e-mail.  Hopefully we will have more soon and will prepare a PowerPoint presentation to be shared with all the participating clubs.

Site Visit:

  • The dates of March 14 thru March 18, 2011 (depart on March 19th) has been reserved for a site visit to Leon and the village of El Ojoche.  A requirement of our matching Rotary Foundation grant is to make a site visit to assess this project.
  • My quick look at airfares from Portland to Nicaragua indicates that roughly round-trip airfare will be $900 to $1,000.
  • In country lodging, transportation cost and food should approximate $70/day or about $420 for an anticipated 6 day stay.
  • There are a variety of immunizations/inoculations that FHI recommends.  I have attached the list for your review.
  • More trip information will be developed and distributed at a later date.

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