Our Dirty (or Dry) Little Secret

June 8, 2012

In early 2010, we began working on a project with several of our partners to provide safe water in Kalo village. If you’ve followed our story for the last few years, you’ve probably heard about the project.  In fact, you can see the timeline here.

What you probably don’t know is that today, the well is not fully functional.  It hasn’t been for a few months now.  There is a (VERY) minor technical issue that causes silt to show up in the water at the main distribution point.  So most, if not all the community avoids the water (even though it is the cleanest water most have access to) It would bore you or cause you to lose your mind if I tried to explain all the details surrounding this unfortunate circumstance.  Resolving this complex situation is about as simple as removing gum from the bottom of a shoe.  And the reasons it exists will never be changed with a functioning well.

We’re frustrated with the process, that’s for sure.  We wish the 5000+ people who should be using clean water by now were able to do so.  But…there is hope! First, as far as we know, the well is pumping clean water into the community medical clinic.  Second, while we have been confused and disappointed in some of the way our partners have handled the situation, our relationships with SELAM, the village leadership, and Water is Life International have grown and strengthened during this long saga. For certain, some of them have been frustrated with us as well.  Building trusting and open relationships has allowed us to understand one another better.  Our expectations have adjusted and we’ve improved our communication with one another.

The third reason for hope is what we’ve learned as an organization.  Our tagline, ‘water alone is not enough’ has become truer than we realized when it was written down during a planning meeting over a year ago.  This knowledge has motivated us to redouble our focus on building the capacity of the community to develop itself. This requires more than sharing new information – it’s providing opportunities, like investing in small business, supporting Self-Help Group training, and sponsoring vocational education.

Africa Water and Life is committed to building momentum and catalyzing a movement of individuals, families, and whole communities embracing the hope found in God’s grace, the peace found in His love, and the prosperity found in following His ways.

The question is, can a culture or a community be transformed? What do you think?