By: Carlos Enrique Aponte Rivero
Yes! It is very interesting for these kids, obviously amazed by the strange equipment put into the water. As soon as I started to set up the probes and to do the water quality measurements, I was suddenly surrounded by children, getting closer and closer trying to find out what is this about. It was in Osunyai Street, where I took a sample from a borehole close to Sombetini Primary School. The children are students of this school and they were just walking around when I arrived to continue with my data collection. The T-GroUP Project gave me the opportunity to mix my technical background in chemistry and water quality with social science, an exciting challenge with an interesting experience working in the field.
In the process of doing my research I realized that is very important to have the spirit of these kids, the curiosity about the unexpected sometimes led the researcher to understand more about the nature and the society. The understanding about what is going on in the aquifer and the relations of people with groundwater in this ward, is very important for these kids. This borehole is the only source of water for the school and it is used by the neighbours of Osunyai Street as well, where some of the students live.
What about the results? Nitrate and fluoride within the Tanzanian standards. However, few meters from this point there is a dug well where I measured the highest value of fluoride in the entire study area, comprising Unga LTD, Sombetini and Osunyai wards. It was more than 12 times the national standard that is 4 mg/L. What are the reason for this difference? How the people deal with this? And the most important question: what can be done? We have to be like kids, with curiosity to understand and creativity to find out proper solutions.
Water quality results from a dug well in Osunyai Street