Water Project Wildly Successful in Chome Tanzania
A Report from Doug Bendall, President of My Father’s Mission
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 petroleum products because sometimes the water comes from a ditch beside a road.
At My Father’s Mission we are not water experts. But we have seen the need and we have spent time educating ourselves on the need and some solutions in the area we serve. We have now seen first hand how abundant water makes a difference in everyday life for people.
We 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. They had been there for the survey in their 4×4 vehicle. The survey crew is not the crew for drilling and did not recognize the problem with the road was bad enough to keep the drilling rig from negotiating the mountain road.
We fell back to “Plan B” which is what the village elders suggested to begin with. For security of the water system we felt the well was a better plan and had moved forward with that idea. Now, with the issues with the mountain road, we changed our plan and piped the water down from a spring on the top of the mountain. As you will see, in the end, it seems God had a better plan than we did and found a way to change our plans.
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.
Recently I traveled to Chome with one of our board members and another supporter of MFM. Our goal was to review the project and make some plans for our annual January Medical Mission trip. What a difference we saw. We had all three been to Chome many times and we were very surprised at the difference the water project had made. The campus of the secondary school we work out of and the government school campus were completely changed with landscape and gardens.
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. These people would still be waiting for another bore hole to be drilled if we had not had to change our plans. The water is very clear straight from a spring. So many more people now have access than the original plan.
The most amazing sight was the garden planted at both the Chome Secondary 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 honored their trust and provided water as He had in the Biblical account of those wandering in the wilderness.