My time in Malawi assisting in the well dedications and pump installations of over one hundred wells was very memorable. As I reflect back over that three week period of time, I could not help but notice how many children there were in each village and how few those who appeared to be over 50-60 years of age. I am sure other factors besides clean, safe drinking water play into the overall equation, but I am also quite certain that the statistics I heard quoted were accurate. Without safe, clean drinking water in a village, as many as 20% of the children do not survive until their fifth birthday. What a gift we are giving to these villages who have lost potential leaders, teachers and even doctors who were robbed of the opportunity to grow up and fulfill their life’s calling. We installed several wells at schools, one of which had over 750 students.
We spent a longer than normal time at one well site because part of the team was installing a second well up the road. The chief of the village I was at (an older man) stayed there and we got to talking (through an interpreter) about their old water source. He said, “let me show you where we have been drawing our water from.” – which he did because it was not too far from the well site. As in so many cases, it was just an open hole in the ground with a lot of vegetation growing up around the site and opportunity for anything to fall into the water hole. He said there was not enough water to supply all the village needed – that it would run out by mid morning.
Then his wife came and said (through an interpreter) I have been sick for many years but I know that I will get better now that I have clean water to drink (she too was quite old – or old looking). What joy to see them receive the clean water that will supply sufficient clean, safe water for the whole village!
I saw such joy on all of the village faces at each site as they received this wonderful gift but I will never forget the happy amazement on the faces of the older men and women who said “we never thought we would see this in our lifetime.” What a privilege to represent Marion Medical Mission and all of the donors who made this possible for over 2,500 villages this year alone.
~Tara Wentworth, MMM Volunteer