Water Play Pump in Africa
Rotary Club of Koh Samui, ROCKS, has long had a close relationship with a Sister Club in England, based in Torquay in Devon, Tormohun Rotary Club. One of Tormohun’s Clubs members, Geoff Coop, and his wife Diane, are regular visitors to Koh Samui as they have a house in Koh Samui, and enjoy a two month stay on the island every year.
In the year following the catastrophic tsunami that devastated the west coast of Thailand, Tormohun Rotary Club was highly supportive of ROCKS efforts to rehabilitate a community in Phang Nga. A party of 11 Tormohun members visited Koh Samui, and joined with ROCKS members in celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International, and enjoyed many other social events with their hosts. Later, Tormohun Rotary Club was a generous sponsor of a Deep Well in ROCKS ‘adopted Village’ of Tung Dap.During his annual visit in January 2007, Geoff made a presentation at a ROCKS meeting by invitation of President Adèle Smith, on Tormohun’s latest Project, Play Pumps in Africa. Geoff described how women in many African countries are obliged to spend many hours a day walking to the nearest source of water, often several kilometres away, and carrying it back to their huts by balancing heavy pots on their heads. So much time is taken up with this activity, that there is no time for the women, and indeed their daughters, to become educated, or to improve their lives in any way. A scheme was devised, called ‘Play Pumps’, or ‘Magic Roundabouts’ whereby a well is dug, and a pump installed with a children’s roundabout placed on top.
Finally the well and pump are connected to a large water tower. Once installed, children play on the roundabout, thus pumping water up to the tower, which is built to allow advertising on all four faces. Revenue from the advertisements in turn cover the cost of maintaining the pump. The ‘magic’ in the ‘Magic Roundabout’ is that the scheme encourages healthy play for the children, access to water ‘on tap’ for villagers, women are freed from their burden, and they and their daughters have time to become educated and increase their earning potential, indeed a ‘magic outcome’.Geoff further explained that under Rotary International rules, if Tormohun raised enough capital for one pump, then RI would match this with a second. Truly a ‘win win’ outcome. Each well and pump would cost 5,000 GBP or 300,000 baht.Rotary Club of Koh Samui voted enthusiastically to support this worthwhile project, mindful of the valuable support received from Tormohun Club in the past. The sum of 75,000 baht was allocated and presented to Geoff before he returned to England at the end of his visit. On his return to England, Geoff presented the cheque to his own President. Later Geoff reported that his club had raised, with ROCKS help, the necessary funds for a pump, which would then become two! He planned to travel to Botswana the following October to observe for himself the pumps that Tormohun had sponsored, and even perhaps to take a spin on the magical play pump!