I have spent some time recently in Kenya visiting our daughter, and travelling back to Tanzania to help with the ‘Water for Life’ project. It has been running for 7 years now and so far over £75,000 has been raised and sent to the project.
We began by helping train people to build hand dug wells and fit 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 the visit is to help evaluate the project, see what lessons can be learned and how to carry on into the future. I hope to get some good feedback from the local people about what has been helpful.
There are a number of challenges to make the project work. The first one is for the villagers to take responsibility for ‘their’ well in the long term so it will be maintained. Education is part of this so people will understand the health benefits. Finding a good site can be difficult too and of course it is very discouraging to dig down, even breaking through rock, only to find there is no water. We have been looking at ways to do more effective surveys, but these can be expensive.
I visited each of the three dioceses: Mara, Rorya 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. Rorya has much poorer infrastructure and probably needs different support.
I flew into Nairobi, Kenya, then hired a 4×4 and drove with Susie over the border into Tanzania. This is always an interesting trip; hot, dusty with lots to see. We met with the development team and people from the communities in each of the dioceses. In some places it is not suitable to dig a well and so the project is to harvest rain water from roofs. This does not provide as good a solution as a well, but is better than just going to a river or unprotected well. Susie will teach about her women’s health project and see if it can be launched in our link dioceses. In Rorya diocese, I visited our link parish, Sakawa. I also visited Rose and her husband, Samuel, who is now principal of the local Bible College. Rose visited us here in Stanley some years ago.
Rev Bill Henderson