Written by: The Bridge on Friday, March 21st, 2008

The Water House
Hi Everyone, It is nice to read all those comments on the blog. They make me think about home and the people at home. I have to admit that I have been so absorbed with Palmgrove and the people here, that I have had very little time to think about home. Home seems so far away and so long ago. It’s just hard to imagine playing hockey while we are playing soccer in this heat.
Things are very different here, but just like at home there is always a list of things you have to get done.Ed Vetter has decided that getting the Water House operational is going to be one of our first projects. This is because it is very close to being complete, and doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.
So let me tell you a little about the Water House. The “Water House” is a water bottling plant that uses equipment that is somewhat automated and has been under construction for a long time. This plant is very small, but could produce a nice income for Palmgrove if it was operated properly. So let me explain a few things.
Water tankFour long years ago, Palmgrove tried to set up the water bottling but never got a permit from the government. This was because they were doing everything by hand. This means they even washed the bottles in a tub by hand. In fact, the whole process of filling, capping, labeling, and packaging was done by hand. The government saw this as a sanitation problem and never gave them a permit for bottling water.
Therefore, after a few years Inno decided to change direction. So the old manual system was removed and a water bagging machine was put there instead, but somehow the machine was never set up and Inno decided to try something else. He got another loan and purchased and installed a more automated bottling machine. Now there are two machines standing in the Water House and both aren’t producing anything yet.
< Egypt, assistant plumber.In order to bottle or bag water one needs good water. Palmgrove water is some of the best; it is as good as any bottled water you can buy in Nigeria. Palmgrove drilled a well in 1992 and they have had good access to water for many years.They installed a very large steel water tank for a reservoir. Palmgrove has a fully functional and plumbed water system for the houses, barns, and gardens, even when there is no electricity for two days. People from the surrounding area keep coming to Palmgrove for water. They do this by filling their car with jugs and pails and then fill these with water. By contrast, almost everyone in the jungle gets his or her drinking water from the stream.
It happened once in the past that Palmgrove ran out of water. So they had to do what they have always done. They got the water from the stream, and in doing so got all the missionaries sick. They have been told to tell missionaries when they get the water from the stream so that they can boil it. Somehow, the local people are immune to all the bacteria in the river. Or are they?
conveyor style systemIn Nigeria if someone wants to start a company they first have to fully establish the company to the point of operation before a permit to operate will be granted. Also, the building has to look very neat and somewhat fancy to appeal to government standards. This concept is hard to understand considering how primitive most things are in the jungle, but it is easy to see that the government has rules like this so that Nigeria ends out with some respectable looking buildings after all. At home, this is very different. Someone can start a business in a small shack and build a bigger building once the business has grown a bit.
Palmgrove has a very nice building for their water plant. It is constructed mostly of bricks, has a nice paint job, and looks quite impressive for a business that doesn’t yet exist. Although it has taken a month, Palmgrove’s young men have almost completed laying the bricks in front of the building. The bricks also help stop erosion.
The reason the bricks take so long is that they are produced by hand. It reminds me of how the Israelites would have worked in Egypt at the time of captivity. Everything is done by hand including mixing the cement. I helped produce one batch and let me tell you it is hard work, especially with the heat.
Interruption:The electricity just went on so I will pause to plug in the laptop because it is getting low on juice. The electricity around here is like waiting for the rain in the dry season.
I also need to mention that all the buildings in Nigeria are made of bricks because of the termite ants that eat everything that isn’t made of stone or hard wood. In the end, the bricks give the Water House a very nice finish.
The water-bagging machine is what Ed Vetter and I have been working on since we got here. It’s a very small machine that uses a roll of plastic to form a bag, which it then exposes to ultra violet light to sterilize it. This bag is then filled with water that has been filtered with a sand filter and three other particle filters. The water is then exposed to ultra violet light and put in the bag. The machine seals the bags with heat and cuts them off from the roll. This is a continuous system and requires someone to place the bags in a box for shipping. Water bags are a very popular way of buying water, as it is very cheap. The market should be very accessible.
The water filtering system that Ed Vetter and I have been installing was paid for by the people at home and was shipped on the container; the machine didn’t come with a filtering system. We are almost finished and have had an inspector here to look it over. He gave us a few recommendations and seemed quite pleased with the system. We hope to be able to run the water bagging system very soon.
Washing downThen there is the water bottling system.It is a very impressive machine. It is automated to the point where it only needs a person at the beginning and end of the machine. The person at the start places the bottles on a conveyor. Then it is automatically washed, sterilized, filled with filtered and sterilized water, capped and labeled. The person on the end of the machine will then pack the bottles in boxes for shipping. The whole machine is constructed of stainless steel and came with its own water filtering system.The filtering system is very large and seems to be of high quality. This machine has the ability to produce a lot of product if it is run diligently.
Palmgrove has sent Inifiock, a young man, to college to learn about marketing so that they will have someone who knows how to sell the water. Water is in very high demand in Nigeria and therefore selling water should be very possible. Palmgrove will try to sell the water locally and only sell as they produce. There is only one problem and that is electricity. The electricity around the Palmgrove area is as predictable as the wind in Manitoba and has a quality standard that does not exist. The phases on the electricity can change from one day to the next. This means that a motor will be running forward one day and backwards the next day. That would include the water bottling machine. It would be running in reverse or get burning out. For this reason Palmgrove will have to produce electricity with a generator. With high fuel prices this could be a problem, but they have very little choice
The whole project has dragged out for a long time because of the lack of funds and constant problems. However, if they can get this together, they should be able t have a nice income. Water is on every menu and is consumed at all times. As for now we are trying to get the Water House into production. This is not very easy but we are getting close to completion. Hopefully all will go well.

Showing 12 comments

Anonymous said:
On: 21st Mar, 2008 at 18:33

So that part of Palm Grove is almost like back home. Interesting! It looks very promising. Good work! 🙂

Ian/Crystal said:
On: 21st Mar, 2008 at 22:31

Great blog, Brian! Sounds like you guys are having a blast and making a difference at the same time. Keep up the great work and may God bless all that you do so that it may flourish. Happy Easter!

Nelda said:
On: 21st Mar, 2008 at 22:55

Good to hear from you Brian. It’s beautiful, that building.
Do you think Edd Fetter will be black soon? He’s getting really close.
Thanks for the update; the pictures are a real plus. Keep up the good work in Jesus’ name.

ha! said:
On: 22nd Mar, 2008 at 07:58

finally somethign we can kind of, y’know, relate with. 😀

Anonymous said:
On: 22nd Mar, 2008 at 16:38

Branch, proud that you are helping make fresh water available for the poor! Sounds promising, so keep up the good work and bless God! It’s snowing today; hopefuly, it will feel more like Easter on Sunday! ~ Deb

Jeremy said:
On: 22nd Mar, 2008 at 20:27

Nice work on that building; It looks good inside and out.
My goodness!! dohs wahr eh nightmare if we had our phases reversed here. And someone would get their shirt sued of their backs. Good thing you have no high-leg to worry about also. Or…maybe you do? sheesh.

We want to see what sort of transportation you have. With close-ups of all the Harleys.

Hope you’re not too busy to think of what happened not-so-long ago, and take time to properly observe the Easter Holidays…

Take care, and see you all…:)

an avid reader said:
On: 23rd Mar, 2008 at 19:32

Interesting and thorough blog, Brian! The building does look quite impressive! It’s encouraging to hear that the young guys are pitching in and helping with the work! Hopefully this will turn out to be as promising as it sounds, although drinking water from those plastic bags, after being exposed to the African heat doesn’t sound to appealing, especially after reading those newspaper reports about the chemicals from the plastic leaching into the water. How long can you actually work before you fizz out from the heat? Anyways enough of my ramblings, take care all of you and continue in His grace and strength!!

MH CS said:
On: 24th Mar, 2008 at 12:15

Hey Brian,
We’ve got a lovely storm going on here, March is going out like a lion! 😛 We had Abendmahl today, going to be cold singing tomorrow morning! Hope you manage to get the waterplant going before Ed v. comes home. blessings

Hope and Joy said:
On: 24th Mar, 2008 at 16:15

That Building is a very neat sight, it’s very cool to think of something like that in Africa.
Here is a request. Could you do an update on all the buildings that are on the hof now? And I was wondering do you only shower or bath in the stream or do you have running showers and if you do are they Heated? Do you have pictures of Plamgrove Hof in aerial view? Please post them if you have. Take care and may god bless you.

Larry SHC said:
On: 30th Mar, 2008 at 11:44

Hey Brian
So thats why you wanted to become a waterplant operator back home,It would have been very useful to acquire some more knowledge about one of lifes most important needs..(WATER) It is encouraging to read an update and to know that the younger generation is wanting to be a help in palmgrove .. May the Lord bless all your and all the other missionaries efforts in all that you all are trying to accomplish,,, Hopefully all is well with everyone,,,
PS: you should see all the snow we got overnite,, about 25 cm..
May God keep you all in his care

Jeremy said:
On: 30th Mar, 2008 at 19:20

by the way…what IS the difference between American and Nigerian pipes?
And how do you boil water without electricity? do you have some sort of gas (propane) available, or do you use wood?

“Palmgrove has sent Inifiock, a young man, to college…”
Are there any such schools available in Nigeria, or will he need to go abroad?

Take care, and God bless.

Brian Kleinsasser said:
On: 4th Apr, 2008 at 05:48

Hi everyone. The water bagging machine has made a few bags already but still needs a few fixes. There was a service tech out yesterday but he was having problems with the UV light. By the way the water in the water plant is sterilized with ultra vilot light. It was interesting how exited everyone got when the first bags of water cam out. In time the bags get a logo printed on them and a registration number. Of course we had to run the generator in order to have the machine run. I don’t think Edd Vetter will be here when things are finaly ready for production. I wish it wasn’t like that as he knows what he is doing here where I am only learning.