Our first days in Malawi are for training where we receive an Android, lap top, cell phone, camera, first aid kit, MMM expense money, and exchange our personal money. The food is different, yet tasty, although don’t risk eating the fresh tomatoes because of the water they are washed in. My stomach is queazy so I purify my water..ahh relief. Then be sure to tuck in the mosquito net. A large spider crawls along the wall in my room, it soon met his demise thanks to a young man named Saul. We meet some of the local staff who are all friendly and wonderful. There are salutations in new languages to get familiar with and antibiotics to take. We are assigned our truck and keys and soon off for a practice drive. vroom. I’m excited to get started and thankful for my seasoned partner and friend Betty who will be with me all along the way.
General well site procedure:
Glory to God and Uchindame Kwa Chiuta is on the top slab of every well as a reminder that God is in this work, water is life and God is our living water, (blood and water poured forth from the heart of Jesus). I love the connection coming to such a holy culmination at the well sites. It is once for the village but some 70 times for our team imparting a powerful message of God’s love for His people. I am thankful to be a part of this.
The pump parts are installed— by wonderful MMM staff.
Prayer—- the prayer leader from the village is often on her knees on the hard ground—beautiful and humbling.
Dedicate the well by the volunteer from America—highlight how people in America love God and the people of Malawi Zambia and Tanzania so they donate funds for the pipe, pump and cement. — highlight the hard work of the villagers who carry 110 lb bags of cement to the well site, dig the hole, make the bricks, (app. 2000 all packed and formed by hand), and the builder who does the concrete work (trained MMM staff does this so the cement cures properly).
All of us doing our part brings about this beautiful well which you now own.
There is ULULATION!!! by the crowd, smiles and excitement.
The village headman, representative or the chairperson of the water committee speaks—- Honor to all who are here, thank you to the Americans who help us. We are much in need of clean water, please remember the next village in need of protected water. God bless you.
The well and pump care presentation—often brings laughter.
Take a group picture gathering in men women and children. It is so exciting to be marking this day in history when there is clean water in the village. Expressed by the headman, this is our first clean water since God created this land. I’m speechless, it has been a very long time, imagine the lives lived without fresh water.
Their future is brighter, thank you donors.
Giving of gifts from the village—a live chicken, Irish potatoes, onions, tomatoes, or bananas, (a bunch of bananas is very heavy) soy beans, beans, etc. More humbling as they give from their little.
Each day our well supplies are loaded in the truck, lunch planned and we are off to share the back country roads with people riding bicycles, pushing bicycles with heavy loads, people walking to work, market, or school, goats, chickens, cows, ox pulled carts, van taxis and trucks, and women with various heavy loads on their heads. The closer to the well the rougher the road as it morphs into one wheel on a footpath and the other wheel in the rough; excitement for the jeep lover in you.
Glory to God and Uchindame Kwa Chiuta is on the well slab as a reminder that God is in this work, water is life and God is our living water, (blood and water poured forth from the heart of Jesus). I love the connection coming to such a holy culmination at the well sites. It is once for the village but some 70 times for our team imparting a powerful message of God’s love for His people, I am thankful to be a part of it.
I’m an overseas mission rookie and everything made an amazing first impression. The first well and the first ululation (tongue back and forth while making a high pitch sound) by a woman high on a hillside sends excitement through me. She made her way down the hill and it became evident she was on in years. She held my hand while we prayed and during the dedication. I am glad to be there, right then, right now. God put me in good place. When a village sings at the well sight, it is a welcome sound. We clap our hands and a woman will invite us into a dance, accompanied by laughter. Our ululation brings about laughter too. We love the laughter so we ululate again. When I mispronounce their language there is more laughter and additional instruction from congenial teachers.
I imagine the many people who passed the trails we are walking. They retrieved their drinking water from a small pool, murky and frog infested. The same water shared by dogs, pigs, and cows and now they have clean protected water. We looked on as an elderly man dipped a faded yellow pitcher into a clean bucket of well water, he drank until he was completely refreshed. He poured the remaining precious commodity down the cement drain. This marks a significant day in history and I got to share in it, celebrate it and I couldn’t feel more blessed to do so.
The MMM trained local staff work tirelessly to accomplish shallow wells for protected water. They travel via motor cycle, bicycle or on foot to get the job done. It is a brief 6 week window when all the digging, brick laying and cement work gets done. We are the last phase of this amazing endeavor. They work knowing the next village is in need of clean maji (water).
They have big hearts and concern for their people and I’m sure it is difficult to know that only so many wells can be installed each season. Incredibly, the 2013 team installed nearly 3000 wells supplying clean protected water to almost 400,000 people. This greatly benefits the people as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery numbers drop to next to nothing in areas with shallow wells. There is a repair program in place but it might be slow like the Maytag man. Mr Nyirenda claimed the shallow well in his village has been operating for 12 years without need for repair. MMM has a great reputation for delivering on their promises. The 2013 installs are miraculous but there continues to be a great need for fresh protected water. The murky water holes need to be extinct, it is a big job and this is the organization to do it.
We were privileged to experience the warm hospitality of Malawi in a pastor’s home, a few villages prepared lunch for us, and a couple villages shared Fanta in celebration. This is a big treat and another part of Malawi immersion program where we experience the custom of washing hands while the host graciously pours warm water over them. I revel in every minute as I imagine myself back home telling these beautiful stories. Being with the people is a warm and joyous experience. We enjoy our meal but we shall not linger because it is important to install our wells for the day, so off we go.
I enjoyed the church services too. I loved the music and sermons. I recorded some of the music on my iPhone and enjoy it now in my kitchen. I am pleasantly surprised at how good the recordings are.
Adventure—It is all one big adventure. God’s grace and human capacity come together in many stories. I was glad both showed up when I drove over a bridge and the truck tire crunched through the log and we were stuck. Ha ha, not for long, we emptied the truck making it as light as a feather for the men who came from the village to help. They lifted the truck and with a little acceleration we were unstuck. With a quick stop to reload equipment we were off to the next well. Another day there was a tree in the road…another day we had battery trouble,— another day we had a second battery situation,…All turns out well with God and a little human ingenuity.
A kinship grows when we work together for weeks and experience all of the above and much, much, much, much more. I am thankful for all who offered help along the way, who shared their lives and talents in this short busy time with me. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I am a different person for this experience. Thank you for this amazing gift.
Thank you Tom and Jocelyn for listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your life, for trusting in God and inviting others to do the same. You are a blessing to all you meet.
I pray God continues to bless MMM.
Shallow wells!!! Shallow wells!!!