I shall be spending most of this month—May—back in Tanzania helping with the ‘Water for Life’ Project that is part of the Diocesan link with Mara.
It has been running for 5 years now and so far £63,000 has been raised and sent to the project. We began by helping to train people to build hand dug wells and fitting hand pumps to extract the water. There is also an important element of health education, so that people understand the value of clean water. The purpose of my visit is to help evaluate the project: see what lessons can be learned and how to carry on into the future.
There are a number of challenges. The first is for the villagers to take responsibility for ‘their’ well in the long term so that it will be maintained. Education is part of this to help people understand the health benefits. Secondly, finding a good site can be difficult, and it can be very discouraging to dig down, even breaking through rock, only to find there is no water.
We will be working in two dioceses: Mara and Tarime. Mara is well established and has an experienced team working in development. Tarime is a new diocese but has some very good staff working for them. It will be interesting to see how the project develops in each one.
I fly into Nairobi, Kenya, then get a bus to Tarime, over the border in Tanzania. This is always an interesting trip; hot and dusty with lots to see and it is of course much cheaper than flying. I will then meet up with the other two people travelling from Wakefield. We will meet the development team and people from the communities, and then go to Mara with a similar agenda. At the moment, the pump being used is an ‘India Mark II’. It is good and strong but relatively expensive and breaks down without proper maintenance. I will be looking at the possibility of making a rope pump from locally available materials that will be strong enough to last. The idea is that it could be cheaper to build and easier to maintain, so more wells could be dug.
I will end my stay in Rorya Diocese, which is where our link parish, Sakawa, is situated. I will also visit Rose Kayus and her husband Samuel, who is now principal of the local Bible college. Rose visited us here in Stanley some years ago. Please pray for a successful trip and safe travel.
Rev Bill Henderson