Laying underneath my mosquito net I write you this post. It has only been two and a half weeks since we arrived in Maputo, but in this time my life has changed completely. Mozambican’s are very friendly; they are always willing to practise Portuguese with us. We have started to get used to our apartment on the twelfth floor without elevator, windows without glass and cold showers. But most important of all, the project is progressing very fast!
Last week we visited the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and I was quite shocked with its state. Only after a while I realised that we were standing in front of ponds and not in front of a field with plants (and snakes). The effluent water, which was covered with foam, was being used by the surrounding farms for irrigation.
Irene and all the other people who will come after her working on the WWTP plant, will have a great job to do. We have also visited some peri-urban areas, with the local NGO Pamodzi, where the reuse of wastewater might be a good possibility. Pamodzi is aiming to improve the sanitation standards of the people living in these areas. They have built many latrines in poor areas and every day activists (neighbourhood representatives of Pamodzi) visit houses to persuade people to become more hygienic. They have also built some ecological latrines, in which faeces and urine are separated. The people dilute the urine in water and use it to irrigate their crops. The farmers are very happy with this fertilizer and they prefer it to the commercial ones – they do not call it urine but “gold”.
Pamodzi has also built sanitary blocs with flushing toilets in schools that were previously served with latrines. Flushing toilets will results in a higher water usage and water reuse could be a solution. We also met a small independent water provider who is very interested in cooperating with us and showed us a carwash to which he supplies water and that might be a possibility for water reuse. Stefan and I are working on the decentralised waste water supply. In the coming week we will select the area to research further.
André was invited by WSUP to see the great job that this NGO has been doing to improve the living conditions of thousands of Mozambicans who live in Maputo.
Every day is a new experience here. Some things can be quite overwhelming, since some areas are very poor. I am very proud to be part of this project, since it is really important for the people of Maputo. We will keep you informed!