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Saul, with villagers during a well installation.

Another volunteer and I had just finished installing a well in northern Malawi when an African momma approached us and said “Tawonga Chomeni,” which means thank you very much. I was probably the last person that should be thanked.

I hadn’t dug the well or made the bricks or poured the concrete or donated the money or even physically installed the pump. All I had done was dedicate it. It was my privilege to be there, but I didn’t know the language so all I could do was smile and respond with the same expression of thanks. That’s how most of my interactions went the firstweek. Nothing new.

But then she laid on the ground. Immediately, I got uncomfortable. “What’s she doing? Why is this directed toward me?” I didn’t understand, so I turned to the MMM Field Officer next to me and asked what it meant. He proceeded to tell me that the momma laid on the ground because the weight of thankfulness was too much for her to bear. It was the single most powerful expression of gratitude I’ve ever witnessed.

-Saul Huber, MMM Volunteer