The View From A Village Door
Mwanabaya village represents the typical issue of villagers living with unclean and inaccessible water supplies in Africa. This village story can be repeated innumerable times across the continent by just changing the name and location. It also demonstrates several key factors in AOP’s water initiative.
In the AOP approach to Africa’s water crisis, strong emphasis is placed on
Community ownership, or buy-in – In Mwanabaya, it was actually the local pastor and congregation who brought the need to the attention of AOP. The end result of the villagers streaming to the well, without reservation, is a good indicator that the major stakeholders - the villagers – are indeed proud of their well!
Sustainability – adequate study was done to assure an abundant water supply. A pump was installed, not only to ease the labor of drawing water but also to enhance the sanitary transfer of deep-well water to the containers for transport home.
Capacity building – a local problem has been solved locally, in a manner that will not require long term or unending outside intervention. Water found just under their feet is brought to the surface to meet local need.
Follow up – AOP maintains interest in projects once completed. Ron Hanson’s return visit and testimony of the “sweet water” is an example. Not every project can be visited multiple times. However, our approach of working through our local affiliated church congregations gives us a permanent point-of-contact with the project.
Some people drive SUV's so they can feel a bumpy road and enjoy an extreme adventure. In Africa, rough bumpy roads are commonplace experiences in trying to find villages that desperately need running water. Such was the case last year when AOP traveled to the village of Mwanabaya in Tanzania. Bicycles seemed to rule the road, carrying containers of water for the village. The villagers indicated that the hard alternative for those without a bicycle was an 8-hour walk each day of the dry season to secure water. Even then, the water they got was so contaminated it had to be boiled before drinking.
Mwanabaya is a village of 2,000 inhabitants, predominately Muslim. The local Assemblies of God congregation is the only Christian group in the village.
A much-needed well would solve the hard search for daily water. With the local church instrumental in bringing the need to the attention of AOP, it would, no doubt, become a great witness to the Muslim community.
Thanks to the local church, and generous AOP donors, Mwanabaya’s well has been drilled, a pump installed and water available! This well is now the talk of the entire village. The local congregation has found a new way of demonstrating the love of Christ to their village. Dozens of buckets from all over the village, are lined up every day, to get the water.
Ron Hanson, AOP Field Representative, recently reported, “I visited the well and drank the water. It is beautiful, sweet and clear water and the pump is easy for the women and children to use.”
According to Steve Evans, AOP Team Leader, “The well in Mwanabaya can be seen from the church door. Every day the pastor watches with joy as the village people bring their buckets for water. Hopefully, the church’s gift of potable water to the village will facilitate their spiritual mission of introducing Jesus, whom the Bible refers to as Living Water.”
AHM NewsSource - 2008