Change request: Sim Tanks to Concrete Tanks

Hi Mary,

I wanted to give you a technical update and get your advice.

We have an issue with the six 5000L SIM tanks. We can’t get any transport company or even Cement trucks to agree to transport them to Kondoa before May or June because of the rainy season.

In addition to this, Moshi met with Mr Bago from the Tanzanian water department who has been consulting on this project since 2006 and also just had a meeting with the Cheku village elders and water committee and all parties were concerned that the plastic tanks might not be a long term solution and would be used for bow and arrow target shooting.

Mr Bago suggested a reputable concrete tank builder that has built water reservoirs in the region that have been in operation for up to 15 years without issues. Moshi has been in contact with this company and they are able to build 2 X 20,000 litre concrete reservoirs for a little less than the SIM tanks cost. Our installer Clive from Power Providers has agreed that this is the best course of action given all the variables involved.

I know we have to get any changes approved from you in writing so I’m wondering how you want to handle this.

– The original budget had these line items for the SIM tanks:
6 Tanks X 5000L Sim Tank
Haulage Transport of 6 tanks to Kondoa
Haulage Transport of tanks from Kondoa to Cheku
Total: $6564.00

– The concrete tank construction quote is for $5485.00 for a savings of $1079.00

– In the end we still end up with water containers but now made of concrete instead of plastic, we get more storage capacity and save a bit of money. The container build is employing more local labour and the reservoir is expected to last at least several decades – all improvements over the previous plan.

Because of the time constraints of the end of fiscal and because Moshi is gathering invoices to deliver to you next week, Moshi went ahead and started working with the reservoir installer due to our insistence that this project has to be complete by March 31.

On an accounting note, all payments are being made in Tanzanian shillings so we’re loosing a bit in exchange rates because our quotes were in dollars. As in all projects there might be some unexpected expenses during the installation so should we wait until the install is done – estimated date March 26 for the pump and March 31 for the tanks and see if the we might need the $1079?

All in all I think the accounting should work out pretty close but we’ll have to confirm once Moshi brings you the invoices and sends us a scan.

Let us know how you want to proceed.


We can pick and choose the memories that define our life and piece them together like a puzzle.

Many years ago, in the wake of my mother’s death, I traveled to Africa for the first time. Uganda.

Our time to leave Kalagala eventually came, and my family embarked upon a classic Kenyan safari.

The three of us headed for Tanzania where I met Moshi Changai, a pivotal piece to this story.

From Tanzania, we made our way to the island of Zanzibar, a place to pause and reflect, and to write.

We left Zanzibar for Marrakesh, where the sound of Muslim prayers echoed from the speakers.

Life returned to normal—for just a little while. We returned home, and Zoe went back to School.

Fast-forward six years, and once again, Tanzania stood before my daughter and me.

Our destination was Kondoa, but to get there, we had to board a cramped bus like a bunch of sardines.

Before making our way to Cheku, we visited many of the surrounding Irangi villages first.

We drove up the long road dirt road to Cheku village and finally saw the well that had taken so many years.

With the Cheku well confirmed to be real, the time had come to return to Vancouver.

I finally landed in Tanzania, excited to meet Moshi again and the rest of the safari team.

I spent the days before meeting our potential business partner, Ikaji, at the hotel, practicing my Swahili.

By spending so much time at the hotel, I grew close with the girls who worked there.

On our way to snap some shots at Ntomoko falls, we got stuck in the mud, much like how I felt about Ikaji.

One morning, Moshi and I headed to buy trees and I sat and reflected on the situation with Ikaji.

Ikaji was simply not a good fit for this project and we had to decide how to proceed.

To help foster a community around the tours we decided to have a party for the people of Kolo.

The dry season had been especially brutal for the village of Iyoli and water was scarce.

This trip was winding to a close, but before I left, Moshi and took a final, bumpy motorcycle ride.

Once again, Perry Buchan leapt at the opportunity to be part of another water project.

I was back in Kondoa once again, at the same hotel (or at least the one next door).

To help determine how deeply the hole needed to be dug for the Iyoli well, the team conducted a survey.

We went back to Iyoli with a car full of computer equipment, a generator, and people.

With a car full of just about everyone, we headed to Iyoli one last time before leaving, but this time it was for a party.

The time had come to leave. I knew this because I had used my last square of toilet paper.

It took two and a half minutes to walk off the plane into the Turkish airport and breathe the unfamiliar smells.

It was like a fade-in into a movie, one that started with a reunion between two friends.

The next two weeks went by slowly as the drillers dug inch-by-inch toward the depth of 100m.

Initial digging had concluded, but we still had to test the water, build the tower, and dig trenches.

Tower construction began on market day, and led to a lot of people stopping by to watch the work.

Brick-by-handmade-brick, the tower went up. Soon, it would hold two water tanks and solar panels.

One morning in Kondoa town invited me over to play music at his house behind the hotel.

My worst fear, and I’m embarrassed to say but I will anyway, was having to go pee in the bush.

Today, I met Bar from Innovation: Africa - the woman who helped bring this project on.

I debated whether I even wanted to share this part of this story, but I will.

A few days later, work resumed at the project site.

Despite the recent setback, life continued—progress continued.

Things that were once green were starting to turn brown.

In many ways, our engineer was crazy and messed up.

Moshi, Juma, and I were at the site every day to make sure that things were getting done.

Water began flowing to the different distribution points throughout Iyoli.

This is my story. The stories I tell are the ones that hold me up, that keep me going, that feed me hope.

Each night when I drink a glass of water, I often think of Moshi, and the memories wash over me.