10 August 2012
Peace Corps volunteer Andrew Hubble of San Mateo, California, recently installed a “Play Pump” water filtration system that will serve as a reliable source of fresh drinking water for his South African community.
“Almost four months after its arrival, the Play Pump remains the most popular place to be,” said Hubble, 23, who has been living and working in South Africa as a math resource volunteer since July 2011. “Not only children from the primary school, but parents and grandparents are often seen chatting at the spigot’s end exchanging gossip while collecting water. After school there is — quite literally — standing room only. Lines form for a chance to hop on and a take a spin. Any able-bodied person cannot walk past without a throng of learners demanding a push.”
In December 2011, Hubble returned to his village after a Peace Corps training session to find the municipal water pump broken, dead livestock and community members making regular trips to nearby villages for water. The community’s 20-year-old water pump was frequently broken, and many children were being pulled out of school to help collect water for their families.
Hubble worked with a nongovernmental organization in South Africa to install the water system on the grounds of the local school. The pump, which resembles a children’s merry-go-round, pumps water from underground as the kids take turns spinning the wheel. The water is then passed through a filtration system and stored in a tank, where the community can access it through a tap.