This is how your life changes if you have electricity and running water in Africa

In 2023 Orango Parque Hotel organized its first crowdfunding campaign to carry out the renovation and extension of the Eticoga health center, one of the main tabankas (villages) on the island of Orango Grande, located 20 minutes walk from the hotel.

On the one hand, it was necessary to expand the facilities to accommodate a new baby delivery room and a postpartum room, which has been one of the improvements incorporated, as the women used to give birth in a common room, shared with other male and female patients. But the main reason for this rehabilitation was to provide the health center with something that for many may be simple, but in Africa literally changes your life: electric light and running water.

Before the reform, if it was necessary to attend to an emergency at night, the nurse on duty had to use the light from their mobile phone to illuminate the patients.

Furthermore, every time they had to give a cure or attend to a woman in labor, it was necessary to go out and look for water from the well next to the dispensary, since a broken pump had prevented it from coming out of the tap for years.

For this reason, the incorporation of solar panels and a new water pump, as well as the installation of a new piping system, has meant a great advance in the quality of life of the inhabitants of Eticoga, and those of other villages in the island of Orango Grande, who turn to it as a reference center.

How to transport 20 tons of materials to Orango Grande Island

After obtaining the money to finance the renovation project, thanks to the 18,800 Euros that the Associaçao Guine Bissau Orango (Orango Parque Hotel) raised with its first crowdfunding, and the aid provided by the MAVA Foundation and the CBD-Hábitat Foundation until reaching 33,800 Euros that the work cost, the challenge was how to transport the 20 tons of materials that were necessary to carry out the work to the island of Orango Grande.

It was, once again, an easy challenge in other places on the planet, but it required a titanic effort in Guinea Bissau, both economically and logistically. That is why it took almost half a year to have the means and resources to make it possible.

But last February the Associaçao Guine Bissau Orango (Orango Parque Hotel) was finally able to charter a truck that made 5 round trips from the country’s capital, Bissau, to the port of Quinhamel, carrying on board everything type of construction tools and materials: iron beams, cement, bricks, pipes, solar panels, cables, tiles, doors, sinks, batteries and many other utensils. Because on the island of Orango Grande there are no stores where you can buy all this.

From there, Orango Parque Hotel’s own boats and others that had to be rented were used to drive the freight to the island, which is 4 hours away by boat, navigating an Atlantic Ocean that can sometimes be rough. . The load was such that 4 round trips were necessary. But the effort was worth it.

Worthy healthcare for more than 2,000 people

Today, with the renovation already carried out, seeing how the electric light works, and the water comes out of the taps, we are really aware of how transcendental this project has been for the more than 2,000 people who use it, and that thanks to it they can access more dignified healthcare today.

The joy of the inhabitants of Eticoga on June 9, 2024, when the Associaçao Guine Bissau Orango (Orango Parque Hotel) handed over the completion of the work to the Ministry of Health of Guinea Bissau, said it all.

Their eyes reflected the tranquility of knowing that if at some point they; or their sons and daughters, or their fathers and mothers, need to go to the health center to be treated, they will be able to do so in conditions that, while modest, are close to minimum health standards.

It was a very emotional event attended by officials from the Guinean government, the regional administration, the Ministry of Health, the IBAP, the Associaçao Guine Bissau Orango (Orango Parque Hotel), the regulo of the village of Eticoga, and a representation of the AFAIOG youth association and the Orango Grande women’s association among others.

During the celebration, a commemorative plaque was placed, and the participation of all those who have made this act of solidarity possible, which has changed the lives of the inhabitants of a small African island, was thanked.

Among these collaborators there are many companies from Guinea Bissau that have contributed to the project by providing construction materials such as zinc and cement; equipment such as mattresses and road transport. Other contributions were medical surgical material.

To all of them, thank you very much.