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Secondary School
Thursday, 05 July 2012 Written by fra Ivica Perić

Secondary SchoolIn the upcoming months there will be no resting for us. We intend to complete the construction of the first building of our secondary school by the end of September. As I’ve already written, the first phase of the works is a building which will be about 800 square metres in size and have 11 classrooms with accompanying facilities. To complete it, we’re going to need a total of €130,000.

Previously I bragged about the foundations being all done, and look where we are now! Our workers mean business. They work like clockwork. If it isn’t raining, they don’t stop from dawn till dusk. They just take a lunch break, rest a bit after they’ve eaten, and then go back to the construction site again.

The photos are a proof that our school is taking shape! For our workers it was a major success due to the fact that on many of the past days they had been unable to work at all due to heavy rain and also because everything is done by hand, without the assistance of machines. For the first several days, they’d just been digging... and digging... and digging the foundations. While they were digging, the construction site resembled an anthill.

I’m especially pleased with the fact that the contractor was quite amenable and accepted our suggestions, and so we are receiving a threefold benefit from the entire project!

The first benefit is the fact that the parish will get a real secondary school, the second one is that locals from Kivumu are being employed in the construction, and the third benefit is the fact that the students of the builders’ course of our Padri Vjeko Center are getting a chance to do practical work at an actual construction site.

Now I’m completely sure that the first part of the school, if we have sufficient funds and if all goes according to plan, will be finished as planned – by the end of September of this year. This means that on January 1st, next year, the first hundred-or-so students might be able to start their education in the first level of the Secondary Technical School.

But lately our efforts haven’t been concentrated solely on the school. You see, another project has been successfully completed! We have just managed to finish the construction of a biogas mini-plant and have successfully put it into operation. Although we often joke about making something good out of nothing or – allow me to be blunt – “making a pie out of shit,” we are talking about a serious project, which will save us a lot of money, in addition to being extremely beneficial for the preservation of nature and the environment.

Biogas is a gaseous fuel, which is produced during the process of decomposition or fermentation of organic matter – including manure, sewage sludge, communal waste or any other biodegradable waste.

To get biogas we use the manure from our cows, but also the “waste” from the twelve toilets we have built in the school compound. All that is linked to a big 35-cubic-metre cistern buried in the ground, so all waste is collected there and turned into gas. The gas, which is produced in this manner, is then transferred to our school kitchen where we use it as fuel for everyday cooking of around 350 meals for our students and school staff.

We use the biogas for everyday cooking in two large cauldrons. And it saves us a great deal, cost-wiseIt all began several months ago when we dug a big hole in the ground on the spot where the plant is now - a hole big enough to fit more than one tank: a 35-cubic-metre cistern and two gas storage tanks!

It all began several months ago when we dug a big hole in the ground on the spot where the plant is now - a hole big enough to fit more than one tank: a 35-cubic-metre cistern and two gas storage tanks.

For a cistern of this size, in order to keep the process running smoothly and without interruption, we have to collect 60 kilograms of hard waste and 200 litres of water every day. The produced gas is then stored in the storage chamber, or tank, which is intended for that purpose, and then continues its way towards our kitchen.

Let me explain. There are three cauldrons in our kitchen. As I mentioned, around 350 meals are prepared in them every day. Up until now, everything was cooked using firewood, so we used to spend as much as 1,000 euros per year just for firewood. Now that we’ve started using biogas, I can say with certainty that our firewood costs will be reduced by two thirds, which means that we are going to save (for us) huge amounts of money.

Last year, when I wrote about how we planned to begin with the construction of a biogas plant, a friend of mine told me that – judging by the speed the things were going now – he wouldn’t be surprised if, in a year or two, he heard that I had built a hydroelectric power plant in Kivumu.

He really made me laugh. We have lots of ideas about how to improve the lives of people in our parish. And we are slowly bringing those ideas to realization. We have the benefit of never being alone. The construction of the cistern and all the technicalities necessary for the production of biogas were helped through donations by Franziskaner Mission from Dortmund – our good friends who have been, for many years, selflessly helping us.

Translated by: Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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