After 4 days of hard travelling, we arrived in Morrumbala a day later than we had planned, as progress was extremely slow, with 2 vans towing two heavily laden trailers, over some very bad roads.
The welcome when we arrived was truly moving, as they showed their appreciation of us being there through song and dance. We pitched our tents in the dark and fell asleep to the sounds of fellowship and song lasting into the early hours of the morning.
The plan had been to rise early Saturday morning and visit with the local chief, to inform him of our presence within the region, as well as get his permission to dig the well. Unfortunately, one of our Moz members had passed away in the night, and we awoke to the unmistakeable sounds of mourning, African style. The lady who had passed away had been ill for some time, although no one was sure of the exact cause. Her husband had passed away 2 years ago, and she now left her mother to raise her 4 children.
Eventually we did get to see the chief after a breakfast of maize porridge, and once we had finished negotiating a price to be paid to him, to allow us to dig the well in his region, (Yep, it didn’t make sense to me either!!!) I joined the rest of the well digging team (Mike Rabe, Dawie Maree and two labourers with well digging experience we had brought with us from SA) to decide on the site for the proposed well. After much discussion we finally decided that the well should be dug on the property that the Grace Communion International had recently bought, and where a headquarters and church building has been planned.
After a short service at the proposed site of the well, where we prayed that God would bless our efforts (as opposed to the feeding of the ancestors at the site that the chief had requested) digging started in earnest. I left Mike and Dawie to continue with the well, while I participated in the funeral.
The diggers did a fine job of removing soil from the well, bucket by bucket. By the end of Saturday we were all exhausted but progress had been good.
On Sunday morning, digging continued, until a cheer arose when water was finally struck in the first well, and then shortly after in the second. The excitement in the village was tangible. With water now easily accessible and unpolluted, life for them would never be the same again.
The well digging continued on Monday morning as we wanted to get well below the water table in order to provide a good supply of water throughout the year. By lunchtime, the first well was completed, but the second still required another 1/2m of digging, which we left them to complete.
We said our goodbyes and departed after lunch, knowing that we had a 3 day drive back home.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who contributed so generously, to make what started off as a dream, turn into reality. The people we served have so little, and really do appreciate everything we do for them. I would especially like to thank Grace Communion International, Canada, for sponsoring the trip as well as Mike Rabe and Dawie Maree, who offered of their time, vehicles and expertise to help achieve this dream, but most especially for their friendship.
Joe, Tollie, Tim, Dawie and Mike with one of the vehicles that carried our well digging materials, just before leaving SA for Mozambique. An interesting aside is that both Joe and Tollie were Mozambiquians who had fled their country about 15 and 20 years ago, during the civil war. If you look closely, Joe has no ears- they were cut off as a lesson to him by the opposition. They were both very moved, to be going ‘home’ after so long.
The well we found that had been dug by some locals nearby. Not only is it a danger to those passing by, but the children that were sent down to dig it faced the possibility of being buried alive if it had collapsed.