2017 – Rwanda first visit

LS Proto 2 is selected by Milan’s design museum  “La Triennale”  for the exposition “Giro Giro Tondo – Design for Children”.

In spring 2017 some friends introduce us to Father Patrice Nitrushwa , director of Exodus Centre in Nyagatare Rwanda, a catholic education centre for local children . A few words on our project and we immediatly recived an official invitation for visiting the country: “You guys have to come and touch the reality of the problems you’re trying to solve!”

And so we did:
A few months later we landed in Kigali. Despite being considered the cleanest city of Africa, even in its closest suburbs, we instantly focus our attention on rows of people with empty bins, looking for water from wells. “Ok, we’re in!”

We continued to Nyagatare District, in the eastern province.

Getting in touch with families and local people , and saw how they get drinking water from rivers, lakes, puddle and sometimes sewer… The lucky ones drink water obtained through pumps in the groundwater. Often they drink, shower, and play with the SAME water and so do the animals, exactly in the same spots. Unfortunately, often the privy are located in the same spot, so the dirty water drain into the water people drink.

We saw signs of dehydration and denutrition on their skin and on their eyes. Often the problem is « simple » a gastrointestinal infection which causes the loss of water and nutrients while preventing their normal absorbtion. Therefore the normal and healthy growing of babies and infants is delayed.

Because of the important burden caused by infections, the governement has created the « poste de santé », or « health care point », small structures distributed in rural areas with a nurse as reference for every kind of health problem who deals with first line drugs and support in case of disease. We’ve met the nurse of Karushuga health care point while visiting 5 children with diarrhea and abdominal pain. The reason for it: NO SAFE WATER on the site.

At the Health care center of Nyagatare the majority of consultations are children (about 60%) mainly due to diarrhea. Despite new autoclaves, incubators with digital monitors for the neonatology department and very good laboratory and medical doctors, we’ve been surprised and bewildered that patients have to buy bottled water (less than 25% are able to support the cost) because the one available at the hospital is NOT DRINKABLE. Children at school have to bring their own water from home or buy it. Almost no one can afford it.

Tanks to our precious guide Father Patrice we get in touch with all local authorities , Bishop of Byumba MGR. Servilien Nzakamvita, the Major of Nyagatare mr. George Mupenzi and the Medical Director of the Hospital of Nyagatare Dr. Bosco and his small team of medical doctors. From all of them the same request: “if your system works, just came back and make it work !”

As we came back from Africa, we started working hard to improve our system and get everything fixed for our first on field test, back in Rwanda asap.

GratzUp has the opportunity to have the collaboration of the prestigious “Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore” of Milan to conduct a study to certify the efficacy of the system before move back to Rwanda.

The laboratory tests was conducted by Professor Edoardo Puglisi which in the paper conclusions affirms:
All the tests carried out have shown that the GratzUp system has an effectiveness similar to that of an autoclave, allowing the complete sterilization of natural water samples from Italy and Kenya, of crops with high density of enteric bacteria, and finally, highly heat resistant spores. This last result can be considered as the successful overcoming of a worst-case scenario given by the presence of microorganisms highly resistant to sterilization treatments.