Mission Possible 2017 blog: The trek and the dig for water 25th October, 2017
As part of their Mission Possible deployment to Tanzania, volunteers experience what local communities have to go through to get water on a daily basis. The team also gets to make life easier for those villagers by getting their hands dirty and helping to dig a well, as this blog from Team Alpha - Habiyah Balesi, Kiren Shafiq, Mukhtar Kasmani and Yusuf Kassam - explains.
On the first day, we were quite anxious yet excited to see what this journey entails. First on the agenda was a visit to the local primary school where we were greeted by the village committee which consisted of leaders and community members who help out the village in various ways to ensure the village survives and runs well.
After the initial greetings, some of the community members escorted us on their daily water trek of approximately 10km, which is completed twice a day by most local people including women and children.
On the way there, the trek felt like more of a casual stroll. However, all things turned south on the way back. Once arriving at the water source, it was very different to our expectations as we were expecting a large pond rather than something that seemed quite small and shallow.
There was great difficulty in attempting to walk back whilst balancing the water on the bikes as well as walking at the height of the heat. However, knowing that the villagers will benefit from this water that we were carrying allowed us to persevere through the difficulty, allowing us to make it back to the village, which felt quite liberating when we saw the villagers’ faces of joy.
Our return to the village was greeted with a welcoming traditional song as well as dance and fruits which allowed us to feel part of the community.
The CPA (Community Participation Assessment) meeting with the villagers included us completing a timeline (history of village), daily routine, seasonal calendar and a village map which allowed us to interact personally with the villagers and get an overview of their lifestyle. After completing the CPA, we had an opportunity to interact with the children in which we played the drum and tried to get the kids involved as this allowed the children to open up to us and feel more comfortable being around us.
We assisted the villagers by helping to dig an unfinished well in the hope of finding a water source that was closer and more accessible to the village.
The work included digging the hole deeper, using spades and an axe to hit a water source which will produce approximately 2,000 liters every 4 hours. This well will be closer to the village and homes making it easier to access.
We then visited the school to help with the foundation of the roof building where we used wood and hammers to build a stable roof. We also cemented the walls to ensure that they are safe for the students and the teachers for access.
We couldn’t complete the roof work as the weather (rain) did not permit us to return to the roof as the woodwork was moist and slippery, meaning it was unsafe to work on. On the way home (back to the lodges) the engine of the van unfortunately over heated. Despite the staff’s efforts to fix the van, they were unable to do this and thus they had to provide another means of transport.