I am blessed when someone comes up with a brilliant, life-saving idea. A couple of years ago, one of our congregation members came up with the plan to raise funds to install fresh water wells in Africa. I authorized her to fundraise at the corps (church). Just before we left the USA for the Zimbabwe Mission Team 2015 trip, Maxine had met her goal to purchase and install a fresh water pump in Zimbabwe. This illustrious, generous woman is Eva Loomis, affectionately known as Maxine.
Why water? Worldwide, 2.6 billion people — 72% in Southern Asia — lack access to improved sanitation facilities, and 884 million — 37% in sub-Saharan Africa — do not use improved sources of drinking water. (WHO/UNICEF) In addition, “This year, 2.2 million children will die from diarrhea and related diseases.” (Rehydration Project) Research has shown access to clean water is directly linked to better health.
In Zimbabwe, and in many other developing nations, it is estimated thousands of people living in remote rural villages die due to the lack of clean drinking water. These deaths are needless as they could be prevented. Often, it is women and children who walked long distances to fetch water. Unfortunately, some of these distant water sources almost always contain contaminants. Most villagers bathe, wash their dishes, and relieve themselves in or near the rivers, from where the villagers fetch their water.
As a young boy, I remember seeing long lines, as women and girls waited hours in line waiting for their turn to collect water. The process is painstakingly slow as the women and girls use small to fill each can or bucket with the water. Sometimes the well would dry up before some people got the water.
My wife and I coordinated the efforts of selecting a rural area in which the fresh water well will be installed. We decided to install the well in Chihota village. We engaged the services of a company to find the water table before drilling. The company uses an old time method called the Electroseismic method. This is a geophysical technique that attempts to provide the depth to groundwater and an estimate of the permeability. After finding the water tables, we hired another company to drill the well. The drilling went down to 40 meters!
Last Monday, the company went back to install the actual pump. At about 12:00 p.m. local time, we gathered the village herdman (chief) and some of his family. The chief and his wife expressed their deepest gratitude for this life-changing donation. His village comprises 31 homesteads, adding up to over 120 individuals. All these families are now going to have access to clean water. The chief also told us that he will open a community vegetables garden near the well. The families will not only have clean water, but they will also benefit from growing and selling vegetables.
Thank you Maxine for your vision. Thank you to all who contributed towards this project. Thank you to the ZMT2015 members.