A Job Overflowing with Kando
It takes about two weeks to install a single YCW unit and that sees Okabe and other members of OMDO working hard with local residents at the construction site. However, the work itself is not a straightforward process as it often is in countries with highly developed infrastructure. When the YCW system was initially developed, there were almost no instances of an installation moving to completion exactly as planned.
“When water couldn’t be pumped because of an unknown problem with the intake pump, I took the 40 kg pump back to the hotel and struggled for days in the bathtub trying to find the culprit,” shares Okabe. “We’d face unforeseen issues one after another, like if the plumbing got clogged, we’d head into the river with the locals to inspect it, or when working at high elevations in Ethiopia, we’d be battling altitude sickness together, and so on.”
All the memories that come to his mind are of dealing with problems, but his face speaks of the incredible fulfillment he gets from his job. “It’s because I’ve seen the big smiles of the villagers the first time clean water comes out of the faucet after all the struggles and hard work.” And as they begin to rejoice, sing, and dance, Okabe maintains that it is a scene overflowing with Kando.*
Today, the storage tanks and other parts for YCW units are manufactured in Indonesia and exported to their destined countries. “But I feel to bring clean water to more people and communities, we need to set up a means for local production,” admits Okabe. In short, the local production of YCW systems is where he now has his focus trained on, i.e., the next big challenge for the project.