Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…on earth!
Marion Medical Mission’s goal is to provide the extreme poor in Africa with a sustainable source of safe drinking water while working hand-in-hand in a horizontal relationship with our African partners (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia, Synod of Nkhoma, Synod of Zambia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) Konde Diocese).
The Shallow Well Program does this. The well is inexpensive to build and can be built in the most remote areas. It can be easily maintained by the local village people and (most importantly) the extreme poor can afford to maintain it. Spare parts are readily available and inexpensive.
This is a program where everything is purchased, made, manufactured and administered in Africa by Africans.
The time to build shallow wells is at the end of the dry season just before the rains come when the ground water is at its lowest level. This provides a 2 month window providing the only time when Shallow Wells should be built.
Marion Medical Mission (MMM) organizes volunteer teams from the United States to go to Africa every fall to install Shallow Well pumps working with our African partners, our Field Officers, Installation Supervisors and the village communities. There were two teams this year each in Africa for three weeks. Team one had 19 volunteers and team 2 had 17. The second team returned from Africa on November 3rd, and Jocelyn and I returned on November 10th.
We were battered by long hard days, short nights, difficult hikes, flat tires, truck breakdowns, defective pump parts and a truck that crashed rolling 2 ½ times ending upside down in a ditch with three MMM volunteers and MMM’s driver inside (fortunately no one was killed and no broken bones—but two have yet to recover 100%).
Yet, in the last seven weeks 1,648 wells have been built and another 103 will be finished before the end of November. It is hard to imagine—harder to explain.
From Lilongwe, the capital city located in central Malawi, to the far north crossing into Tanzania. From Lake Malawi on the East crossing into Zambia on the West. 300,000 people, representing the extreme poor in Africa, now have a sustainable source of safe drinking water. And in just seven weeks!
Despite our cultural differences, we worked together hand-in-hand in a horizontal relationship as God’s people.
1,648 villages were told their well is special because it represents the love of Christ. 1,327 villages were told of the partnership between the CCAP and MMM and how this resulted in the well that provides them with safe drinking water (750 in SOL, 277 in SOZ, 300 SON). 321 villages were told of the partnership between MMM and the ELCT Konde Diocese that provides them with safe drinking water.
We worked hand-in-hand together with 1,648 villages, 500 builders, 50 installation supervisors. 15 Field Officers, four Shallow Well Coordinators and 17 to 19 mzungus (MMM’s volunteers).
The United Nations isn’t doing this. Other NGO’s aren’t doing this. The US Marines aren’t doing this. We—normal average everyday people who answered God’s call, working together as His people—participated in the impossible.
This story needs to be told. And it needs to be heard! God is alive and active in this world. We have seen and felt the fire that burns but does not consume. God blessed us! At times carried us. We have been on holy ground. We have been battered—but not beaten.