Fulani Ministry Center Withstands Deluge, Flooding

Post a Comment » Written on September 11th, 2009     
Filed under: News
OUAGA, BURKINA FASO (September 11, 2009) – Decisions on building materials and design for construction of the Fulani Ministry Center (FMC) enabled it to withstand flooding that has devastated the area this month.

The area received a record rainfall of 10 inches on September 1, but water rose as high as eight feet in some places, says Galen Johnson, an Evangelical Covenant Church missionary. Roughly 150,000 people lost their homes. Johnson, who is on extended home assignment, says he is certain the house where he and his family lived would have been flooded.

FloodingAll of the yards are designed so water drains into the streets, Johnson says. As a result, the rains led to the streets becoming torrential rivers (top photo).

Johnson says he is concerned about the continuing health risks following the flooding. Gas station underground tanks were compromised and the water treatment plant was under water. Additionally, people use pit toilets, which were flooded with water that then overflowed into the streets.

The water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, Johnson adds. The insects spread cholera and malaria.

The FMC, located 10 miles east of Ouaga, was inundated with rainfall, but the buildings are raised and no water got inside, says Johnson, who designed and helped construct the center (lower photo). The Evangelical Covenant Church paid for all of the construction. A ministry partner, Serving in Mission (SIM), purchased the land.

Johnson experimented with four different materials by placing them in water before deciding how to construct the buildings. The common mud brick, which is used in most houses, took only four hours to totally return to mud, he says.

Center“Many houses collapse due to torrents passing the base and eroding the wall until it collapses,” Johnson says. “Sometimes buildings collapse when rains are too frequent and water from the dampened soil compromises the integrity of the bottom bricks, and the wall collapses.”

Johnson ultimately decided to use hand-hewn red rock taken from a hillside located half a mile away. The rocks are held together with cement mortar. One of the buildings is made of “stabilized earth,” which is tightly compacted dirt that includes a small percentage of cement.

The FMC, located in a rural area that has few roads or amenities, has served as a place where Christians can safely come and have conferences, Johnson says. It steadily is developing into a Bible school that also has a recording studio for making cassette tapes for distribution.

Two Fulani pastors and their families live on the site. One is directing the ministry center while the other is developing the Bible school course.

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