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July 2014 – Sustainability & Water

For the past several years, HFLM has been pursuing ideas related to our self-sufficiency as an organization. One such idea has been a water distribution project to supply water for our home and farming operations. Last fall, HFLM was connected with Santa Clara University and two seniors, Colin and Scott, chose HFLM as their project for their Senior Engineering Design Course. During this course, they designed a rain catcher water system for HFLM that would meet 100% of our water demand during the rainy season and up to 50% of our needs during the dry season. Over the course of the school year, they spent hours studying Rwanda’s rainfall, HFLM’s water usage and our housing architecture.

Colin and Scott with the boys and staff at HFLM

As Colin and Scott became invested into their project, they decided that they wanted to personally visit the boys and build the water system themselves. After much fundraising to cover all the building and travel costs, Colin and Scott arrived in April and spent the next two weeks living with the boys and bringing their project into fruition. The system catches rainfall from our roof and funnels it into two large tanks where the water is purified and dispersed throughout the house.
One of the best parts of their trip was that they had our older boys work alongside them to construct the water system. 19-year-old Baby and 16-year-old Ja’ Rule quickly became experts in using the power drill and would stay up late into the night with head lamps on to assist and collect tools for Colin and Scott. Since the older boys helped build the entire water system, they understand it and are fully capable of making any future repairs themselves!
Ja’ Rule and Baby using the power drill to install the rain catcher pipes.
We are extremely grateful for Colin and Scott. Choosing our project was a blessing in itself, but going the extra 9,000 miles to build the system and raise all the funds was amazing! Our new water system will reduce our overhead costs each month and ensures that we will have water amidst the frequent water outages that are experienced in our community. Not only will this save us up to $700 a year on water bills, but more importantly, it enables the boys to have easy access to clean water. Hooray!

Left: The boys rolling the new water tank to the top of the hill. Right: The low maintenance sand filter that purifies the rain water.
We love our community of supporters and are truly blown away by the creative ways you merge your talents and skills with our needs. We are blessed!

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