Monday, November 2, 2015

Sri Lanka - irrigation project - wrap up festivities

The villagers put on a ceremony for us with food, dance and speeches.

Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade and Jeff
DWC / Rotary
Sri Lanka, October 2015

Sri Lanka - irrigation project

Today is Saturday October 31st,  Halloween. Some hotels seem to celebrate Halloween with parties but it is not a common part of rural Sri Lankan life.

The last part of this work week was rather challenging. With equipment (back hoe) not showing up as scheduled, and then the back hoe hitting major water lines, our work was delayed.

In the end we laid all of the pipe for the irrigation system with about 60 feet remaining. The plan was to finish this last piece and test the system. However when we arrived Friday, expecting the last ditch to be dug and water people to be available to monitor back hoe, it was evident after an hour no one was coming. A bit disappointed as we wanted to check the system but that will be left to the Colombo Rotary club to finish up.

It was an enjoyable two weeks, however working in the mud and rain took its toll as we all got head colds of some sort. It is good to be finished and we hope in the next few weeks we can receive an update that all is working and the villagers are getting this much needed water.

Now some of us are off to see the country and relax.

It has been a great experience.

Wade, Dave, Jeff, Larry, Jordan and Tony
DWC / Rotary
Sri Lanka, October 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sri Lanka - irrigation project - weekend update

Everyone pitches in, even in the mud

Today is Tuesday at 6 a.m. We had a long mucky day yesterday as it rained hard on the weekend. Running the pipe through the ditch becomes that much tougher when you lose a shoe in the mud.

Is this Jordan with a local boy?

The backhoe almost has all the trench dug and then we can finish up the remaining homes, giving access to water via the taps that we will install.

Villagers are eager for their access to the water supply. It will help a great deal during the dry season.

Many have helped us along the way which has made things more efficient. Most don't wear shoes so they have no problem getting in the muck to help us out.

Weekend jungle safari

One thing that has been a highlight of our trip has been the downtime where we have been able to also see the country. The elephant is from a jungle safari and the sandy pictures are from a dinner we had at a friend of Raelene's. She has been an excellent resource of ideas during our stay along with being a great place to stay. 


Tony on behalf of the team: Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade and Jeff
DWC / Rotary

Sri Lanka, October 2015

Sri Lanka - irrigation project

Thursday October 22, 2015

Internet is spotty here. We are almost finished our first week of the irrigation system. The villagers have been very helpful and communication has been a challenge, but in the end we have worked it all out.

Each day they feed us some tea and snacks and it is very hospitable when many seem to have few resources. The little bananas are "hari rasai," which means delicious.

We have laid probably half of the irrigation pipe and tested it for pressure and all seems to be working well. Each villager will have access to this water for a nominal fee.

It has been a lot of work gluing what looks to me like about three kilometres of pipe.
Today we have nine Rotarians from the local Colombo club helping us and tonight is a party which shall be fun. They are very funny and lively people.

Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade, Jeff and Tony
DWC / Rotary
Sri Lanka, October 2015 

Sri Lanka, Rotary irrigation project: some R & R

River Safari

The team took time for a river safari. 

Birds on the river

Flocks in the tree tops along the river

At the oceans edge on a calm day

Freshly cut fruit

Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade, Jeff and Tony
DWC / Rotary
Sri Lanka, October 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sri Lanka, Rotary irrigation project: digging some trenches

Laying three kilometres of irrigation pipe

Today is Thursday and it was a productive day. On day one we laid pipe to the main road, roughly 300 metres. We had to go through a bunch of trees and under the main highway. After many trouble shooting scenarios, our gang - led by Larry (from Okotoks) - saved the day. The electrician knows his stuff; without him we would be stuck.

The villagers have helped immensely and we are making great progress, we're probably 50% of way done. It's very humid - my shirt was absolutely soaked within an hour!

We have met some great locals and had a lot of fun so far in our attempt to make a difference.
Digging the trenches:

Larry and a villager delivering the irrigation pipes:

Jordan and some locals gluing the pipes:


Long view of the trench:

Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade, Jeff and Tony
DWC / Rotary

Sri Lanka, October 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sri Lanka, Tangalle - Rotary Project: Irrigation

Travelling to Sri Lanka
Wade Billey, our fearless leader, asked myself (Tony Gilbert and Jordan Marshall) to provide a daily blog.

After a long journey routed through London, where we had a 10-hour layover, we arrived in Colombo.

While in London we ventured down the Tube into downtown. During our visit we saw several sites such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and, of course, a pub for lunch. It was a nice break during the long journey.

The flight to Colombo was 10 hours and we arrived into a humid arrival. Thirty degrees and some sun and rain.

First day on the irrigation project
Early to bed, we woke up Monday morning and travelled 30 minutes to the work site with our handy driver DePaul. Driving here is very different. Cars, trucks, buses and tuk tuks bobbing in and out of traffic like a skilled, choreographed dance. There have been some close calls but it works.

After doing a short ceremony with the local town residents and government officials to commemorate the project, the backhoe got to work digging our trench for the irrigation project.

We are running pipe for three km so locals can get water for their gardens which will help feed themselves but also provide product to sell. 

We had an injury immediately as Jeff from our Rotary Okotoks club tripped on some hidden barbed-wire while carrying a pipe and cut up his leg a bit. The trooper he is he was back working soon after.

It was a hot and humid day with some slow work as we figured out logistics of how to go through pieces of property and under a major road.

The locals were very helpful and invited us in for tea and food.

As I write this, we are just finishing breakfast as we are 12 hours ahead of British Columbia. Off to the site again, will try and send pictures later.


Larry, Dave, Jordan, Wade, Jeff and Tony
DWC / Rotary

Sri Lanka, October 2015