My Non-WATSAN Life in Bangladesh: 3rd Month

Alex takes us behind the scenes of her posting in Bangladesh, where she's been working on water and sanitation for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees forced to flee from neighbouring Myanmar

In the settlements where I work, MSF has 5 community boreholes each with a gravity water supply system. Three supply systems are built in Hakimpara Makeshift Settlement and two systems are in Jamtoli Makeshift Settlement. Each borehole provides between 20,000 to 30,000 litres of water every day. In total, MSF supplies 130,000 litres of chlorinated water each day to the community which supports around 9,000 Rohingya population.

An electrical submersible pump is installed in the borehole and pumps water up the hill into tanks, where it is chlorinated

Each community water supply system has two 5000 litre tanks that are filled and chlorinated interchangeably. Gravity is then used to transport water from the tanks to three tap distribution platforms

A woman ensuring people queue orderly and respectfully in Block N in Hakimpara Makeshift Settlement

Every day Rohingya from Block M in Hakimpara Makeshift Settlement line up their buckets, jerry cans and jars to collect chlorinated water from a MSF community borehole 

Kids from Block O in Hakimpara Makeshift Settlement collecting chlorinated drinking water supplied by MSF

My Non-WATSAN Life in Bangladesh: 3rd Month

For the past two month the translator for our team, Arafat, has been helping me manage and supervise the drilling and construction of the boreholes and gravity systems. He is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s in finance with no prior drilling experience. Each day he translates technical information between myself, the drilling contractors and construction contractors.

This week he interviewed for a borehole supervisor position with MSF and this morning we found out he was offered the position! I was very happy and felt like a proud parent.

One of my favourite things about Bangladesh is the delicious food! I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to eat: lots of tasty local curries, lentils and soups. In my last week in Bangladesh our teams have been so generous to have setup lunches to celebrate the completion of our construction projects. I have been chowing down on crab, prawns, local vegetables and chicken and beef curries.

Eating through a celebratory lunch with (L to R) me, Shofiq (drilling contractor), Sayem (WATSAN assistant), Arafat (translator), and Mayur (WATSAN)

Me and Mayur (WATSAN and the only other Canadian on the project) taking in one last view of the endless hilltops covered in tents

If you live in the UK, please donate to MSF UK’s winter 2018 appeal to support our work with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

If you live elsewhere in the world, please click here to make a donation.