Water is Life
Water is Life. For so many in Africa finding a water source and then bringing it home takes a large portion of the waking hours. And often the water is cloudy and contaminated with bacteria or parasites. Or maybe oil because sometimes the water comes from a ditch beside a road.
I am no water expert. Don’t claim to be. There are many organizations out there specializing in water delivery to those in need all over the world. I have seen first hand the need. I have also just returned from Tanzania and witnessed first-hand how water changes lives.
My Father’s Mission had planned to drill a well at the remote school we work out of. After all the surveys and prep work were done, the drilling company could not bring their drilling equipment up the mountain to the well site due to very rough road with switch back turns that were to sharp of turns for the truck.
We fell back to “Plan B” which is what the village elders suggested to begin with. We piped the water down from a spring on the top of the mountain. This school sits at about 5,000 feet elevation in the Pare Mountains next to Kenya border in North East Tanzania. Kilimanjaro can be seen from the school on a clear day. My Father’s Mission supplied pipe for the 3 miles distance and the local people dug the trench to bury the pipe. Many of them volunteered to dig the trench without knowing if they would ever benefit from the water. This project was truly a partnership between the local people and My Father’s Mission. One gentleman said this the first time in many years he has seen so much cooperation between all the people there. They had one goal and it was good for all of them.
My trip recently was to review the project. What a difference. Prior to the project completion, students had to carry water in buckets from a spring. This water was for bathing, cooking, washing floors in the dorm, washing clothes — basically every household chore that required water. The villagers often had to walk even further than the students to reach the water supply. This supply is not as good as it was either in quality or quantity.
Now the water arrives from the spring on top of the mountain and flows into a holding tank at the school. When the tank is full the water flows out to the village and on to two other villages and two more schools. The school pipes water to the dorms and spigots located strategically around campus. Three spigots are in front of the girls dorm and they simply step outside to fill their buckets.
400 local homes have access to this water as it flows over the side of the mountain down to two more small village areas. More people have access along the way. Not every house has water right to the front door but the access points are close.
The water is very clear straight from a spring.
The most amazing sight was the garden planted at both the Chome Seconary school we support and the government primary grade school. While a government school in name, there is no financial support to speak of from the government. The school has dirt floors and is in need of a new roof.
The government school planted a large garden of greens and tomatoes and is supplementing their students lunch with some surplus to sell to the village.
Chome Secondary school has also planted a garden to improve the diet of the students. Previously gardens were possible but water was from rain. Rain is common during the “rainy season” but can not be depended on at other times. Now with a continuous supply of water the gardens are year round options. The climate is good at this elevation.
I expect this water system to expand a bit more. The school is trying to create a larger holding tank that will allow them a reserve of water as well as enabling them to send more water out to other areas that are not served currently. The school is maintaining the system and each line running to another area is responsible for their supply from the school. A large pit has been hand dug which will be lined with rock and concrete to make the holding tank. However, the school has no funds with which to purchase the special concrete they need to make the tank. So until we can raise some more funds or the school can find a donation, they have put the final phases on hold.
My eyes teared up when I saw the gardens and heard the comments from local people. I had to turn away a couple of times when we visited the government school and were treated to poems and songs from the students about the water project. Dad would have been so happy for this progress. He worked so many years there to help bring funding and changes which would improve the quality of life.
My thanks go out to my friend Ed Padon for his unselfishness with funding for the pipes. God has ways of supplying the needs of those that trust Him. These people in Chome very much trust in God for their needs. It is a very poor place. God did provide water as He did for those wandering in the wilderness.
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