by Jenny Chu, Jesus Arroyo & Josh Lange
The cistern is now complete, the pipes are laid, and each family in Yanmaidi has renewed access to reliable, clean drinking water! Because of your generous giving, our friends in rural Yunnan province have received the beautiful New Year’s gift of renewed health, hope and vitality after years of frustrations and limitations.
CWEF staff traveled to Yanmaidi on January 10 to celebrate the completion of the project with the village’s families and local government leaders.
Prior to the completion of the new water system, Yanmaidi’s drinking water had been delivered using a series of old, low-quality plastic pipes that looped around the village. These pipes were degrading and fragile. The pipes would burst during the rainy season due to an overload of water and would freeze during the winter causing similar problems. During droughts, the water system was unable to deliver water effectively, causing many residents to hike 800 meters to a nearby reservoir to collect water, several times per day. The outdated system required constant maintenance and left families with no water when things went wrong. Even when water was available, the quality of the water was not good because of contamination in the system due to constant pipe breakages.
100% of the village households made contributions to bring the project to a successful completion. Each family contributed a small amount of their own money and a considerable amount of their own physical labor to complete the project.
During her recent visit to help celebrate the project’s completion, CWEF’s Jenny Chu also facilitated a health training session focused on drinking water safety, personal hygiene, prevention of common illnesses, safe use of pesticides, and women’s health care.
Zhang Zhenghua has resumed his role as the water system manager (in a previous story, we highlighted Zhang’s wife Yicun). Zhenghua and Yicun expressed their delight with the completed project. Zhenghua no longer worries about being woken up at midnight to fix a broken pipe. Pipe repair will no longer be a daily struggle for the Zhang family, which will give them more time to focus on their crops and other work. With his newfound time, Zhenghua hopes to be able to improve his family’s life by raising more livestock of their own.
Here are a few additional notes about the project’s ongoing maintenance, which all residents agreed upon and committed to at a recent village meeting:
- The water system fee will increase from 5 to 10 yuan per person per year. Zhenghua’s salary will stay the same, and the additional 5 yuan per person will go to a fund to be used for maintenance and repair costs.
- Every six months, a team of three will work together to clean the main cistern.
- CWEF plans to conduct a comprehensive follow-up evaluation of the project at Yanmaidi in 2022, two years after the project’s completion.
Yanmaidi’s village leader, Zhang Linzhong, expressed his deep gratitude to everyone who has made this project possible. He shared that in the future they hope to improve on the water system by expanding it to reach more of their fields. He also shared his dream of installing street lights throughout the community, and in the future plans to expand sales of their organic produce to nearby cities where they will sell for a better price.
In closing, Mr. Zhang shared with us that he plans to live in Yanmaidi with his family for the rest of his life, continuing to help the village that raised him as a child to grow and thrive.