Monday, November 9, 2009

When your arms get tired pulling water from the well...

Buy a Nafasoro pump!  A few weeks back I committed to something I had been thinking on for awhile.  I forked over 37,500 CFA (about $80) to buy a Nafasoro pump produced by the people at Kickstart
and sold throughout Mali at various shops.  The pump I purchased was made in Kenya and operates just like a bicycle pump and, once started, is just about as easy to operate.  With three people at it, one pumping, one watering and one on hand to relieve tiredness, it is a lot faster and can cover more land than watering by hand from well bags.

The longer I am in Mali the more I realize that for anything to succeed here it needs to be in terms of business and profit.  Kickstart seeks to combine fighting poverty with business sense.  They understand that people respond to investment and not hand outs.  That for development to work there needs to be a sense of ownership on the part of the village or person on the receiving end of that development.  I have been curious how the pumps actually work (there are signs for them all over, see below) and so said what the heck, there are worse ways to spend $80.

A sign in San outside one of the shops that sells Nafasoro pumps (there are step ones that operate like a stairmaster = you look real goofy in your garden but have great thighs and a pump one which works just like a bike pump = you look a little goofy in your garden but have great arms). 

I'm pretending I'm in America here and that the hose is attached to a faucet...what you don't see is someone sweating at the well!  There's a handy attachment that makes the water come out like a spray hose which is great because the pressure from pumping means the water comes out hard and would probably uproot the plant if applied directly.

Annette, Nicole and Kim (working for and doing research with Cornell) came to visit my site to see what it is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali actually does... I had a great time sharing with them my home away from home and using my Nafasoro pump for the first time.  Thanks for the pictures and the visit ladies!

Here I am sweating away at the pump and hoping someone will come up real soon and ask if they can try.... : )

Cassie came to visit and helped water the okra and hibiscus plants.  She was a top-notch waterer and her gardening skills are sorely missed since she had to return to site...

My complete verdict is still out on the Nafasoro pump (Nafasoro means, roughly, "to find a lot!" as in, to find a lot of profit and fruits and veggies).  The pump has proven to be frustrating if the tubes aren't tied properly on but with a little patience it gets to working in no time.  It is ideal for a gardening association but not just for one person.  I'm glad folks are getting a chance to see how it works in my village and though the cost is prohibitive for a family unit (while relatively low, still out of reach for a Malian family) perhaps people will want to band together and purchase one as an association. 

Here's a video taken in my garden by the one and only Cassady Walters - thanks Cassie!

See more pictures from Cassie's visit and the shea nut selling session I talked about a few entries back here

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