The electrical system on-campus is a part-time affair. There is no power grid to tap into in rural Nigeria. The seminary operates an antiquated generator which can power one or, maybe, two buildings at a time. The power distribution system is incomplete, not every building is connected. The generator is run sparingly, as fuel is expensive, and very difficult to transport. Classes and meetings are held during daylight hours. With no lights, evening study and discussion sessions are very difficult, and so when the sun goes down at 6:15, the day is essentially done. BTS has explored the costs of a campus-wide electrical system, both solar and diesel generator systems have been looked at. Estimates have included generation, distribution, fixtures and wiring. While solar would be preferred from an environmental standpoint, a campus-wide system would cost roughtly three times a diesel system. Consultants, engineers and campus officials are still determining the best course of action for this very necessary project. Cost for campus-wide solar power = $155,000. Diesel generator system = $55,000.
UPDATE, NOV 2016: With support from several sources, BTS has been able to move forward with the installation of a solar-power system. As of this date, academic buildings are served by a system which collects energy during the day and stores it for lighting into the evening hours, and also provides power for the computer lab. This is an on-going project which will eventually provide power to living units and other campus facilities.
Another challenge is the availability of clean water. With help from the Iowa - Nigeria Partnership, Banyam Seminary has been blessed with a number of wells and residents generally start each day with a trip to the closest pump to collect what they'll need for cooking and washing. The best and most reliable water comes from a well about a half-mile from campus. Attempts have been made to install a system to pump water from this distant well to tanks on-campus, but the system has proved to be difficult to maintain with school resources. Currently, there are three large water storage tanks on-campus. Plans are to pump water into the one at highest elevation, and allow gravity to then feed the two lower tanks. A first step is to have residents draw water from the tanks, but a longer term goal is to have fresh water piped to each building. A contribution in any amount can help move this project forward with the purchase of PVC pipe, valves and other hardware.
Adding to the infrastructure challenges, is the isolation of the campus. Far from any urban area, BTS is located along the crudest of roads. The only way in or out is not paved, and is hardly even graded. In dry conditions, it is passable on motorbikes or 4WD pickup trucks. In wet conditions, it is not. The school does not own a vehicle of any kind for the movement of food, fuel, materials or people. Some students and staff have their own motorbikes, but larger vehicles must be borrowed when needed, and in times of medical emergencies, ill and injured patients must ride a motorcycle to get care. The ideal vehicle for BTS would be a 4-door, 4-wheel-drive pickup truck. Due to durability, availability of parts and familiarity of mechanics, Toyotas are preferred. Estimated cost for a new or lightly used truck of this description is $20,000.
The kitchen huts available for cooking have reached a state of decay that has rendered them unusable. They weren't that great to begin with, basically just an indoor place to build a fire during the rainy season. Last year, a newly designed kitchen building was constructed in the single men's living area. It is a vast improvement on the old huts and serves as a model for future construction in other residential areas of the campus. Pictures of both the old and new kitchens are in the galleries elsewhere on this website. This is an immediate need and each new kitchen building will cost approximately $6,000.
Much of the campus housing is older and very difficult to maintain in livable condition. Two newly designed housing structures have been built and appear to be sound, functional and appropriate models for future construction. A 6-plex, housing twelve single men, and a 4-plex, housing 4 families are new in the last two years and more of these structures are needed to replace current dilapidated units. You can see more pictures of both the old and the new housing units elsewhere on this website. Cost for a new 4-plex is $30,000.