Marion Medical Mission teams are back from the most wonderful mission trip ever.
We came back exhausted – yet exhilarated, excited, and optimistic over the limitless possibilities of God’s creation. Black people and white people, the poor and the not so poor, Muslims and Christians working together hand-in-hand as God’s people in a horizontal relationship where we respect the others ideas, thoughts, values, culture and religion.
We brought back 847 Polaroid pictures of 847 shallow wells built in 847 remote African villages. Working together with the African shallow well experts and the villagers, the wells were built in just 6 weeks providing an estimated 211,750 people with safe drinking water. And there are another 100+ wells that will be completed before the end of 2005.
Safe drinking water is life not death for many in a place where over 80% of the children who die under the age of five die from water borne or sanitation-related diseases. 211,750 people with safe drinking water in 6 weeks. This is extraordinary, unbelievable. This is the fire that burns but does not consume. This is holy ground.
It’s not easy to explain why those who go on our mission trips volunteer to go again and again. Work starts at first light and ends after the sun sets. Its hot, sweaty, dirty work. You move 110 pound bags of cement, pumps, pipe, down-hole parts and people. You drive where there are no roads and bridges and then walk over rough terrain to remote villages. Accommodations can be Spartan and sometimes there is not much to eat or safe water to drink. So why would anyone volunteer again? I think it’s because of the relationships and the friendships that develop and because by working together hand-in-hand we make a difference – making our lives count.
The shallow well program becomes a part of those who participate in it. It becomes a part of who we are. Through the shallow well program we become a part of each other.
The shallow well program represents a light shining in the darkness to show us the way. An example for others to follow.
In addition to shallow well installation, MMM volunteers taught workshops attended by teachers from five schools (Embangweni, Etchiyeni, Kamwabombo, Thosa and Chizimya) at the Embangweni Full Primary School library. The workshops emphasized Teaching English as a Second Language, Health, Safety and AIDS education. MMM provided teacher resource materials for the six weeks of workshops.