Dawie Maree and I left Johannesburg at around midday on Tuesday the 26th March , on the first leg of our trip – destination Nelspruit, where we were to collect the 5 bio-sand filters which we were planning to install in Northern province of Zambezia, near the village of Morrumbala, Mozambique. These filters were very kindly donated by Wishing Well International and H2O South Africa.
The Edmonton, GCI congregation in Canada had very kindly paid for a tow-hitch to be fitted to my car,( a little Renault Sandero, fondly named ‘Monique’) which allowed us to tow a trailer and take up clothing and food which had been donated by local congregations, and 100 Portuguese bibles donated by the Toronto GCI congregation. We had carefully packed our trailer to allow room for the filtration units we were to collect. They are pretty bulky as each of the 5 filtration units weighs approximately 80kgs, as a result of the gravels that are used as filtration media. (I am looking at the possibility of sourcing other units for future trips that are much smaller, less weighty but more effective)
We arrived in Nelspruit at about 4.30pm, and loaded up the trailer with the filtration units. As the trailer was very heavily loaded we purchased spare wheel bearings as a precaution. In hindsight it would have been wiser to have purchased a second spare wheel!
We slept over at my brother Dave’s home that evening, and left early the next morning (5.30am) for the Mozambique border at Komatipoort, about an hour’s drive away. Crossing border posts in Africa can be tricky as corrupt officials sometimes want to line their own pockets, and I feared our enclosed trailer may raise some eyebrows, but the crossing went smoothly and without incidence. We now had a 2000km trip North ahead of us, with roads that getting progressively worse.
We travelled all day and into the night, Dawie and I taking turns at driving. Eventually at about 10pm we were both too tired to continue and stopped for the night besides the Save River. There was nowhere we could pitch our tent, so we just tilted our car seats back and tried to make ourselves as comfortable as we could for the night. We ate a supper of biscuits and a cold KFC we had purchased at lunchtime. Unfortunately I had forgotten to repack our gas cooker when we left Nelspruit so a hot cup of coffee wasn’t an option.
By about 5am Dawie and I agreed neither of us was going to get any more sleep, so after stretching our legs by walking around the car a few times we continued on our trip North. By about 10am, after we passed Chimoio, the roads started getting really bad and dodging potholes (or deciding which is the lesser of many potholes, when dodging wasn’t an option) became a fulltime stress. Towing a trailer made manoeuvring doubly difficult.
Travelling on such bad roads should be done at no more than 20-30 km/hr. Unfortunately when you have such long distances to travel, taking chances by travelling faster than one should becomes part of the deal. Late that morning the inevitable happened- I misjudged a pothole which dented one of the trailers wheels, resulting in a flat.
With our (only) spare trailer wheel fitted, we were soon on way to Morrumbala again.
At about lunchtime we crossed the Zambezi River. We were now just 120km from our destination. From now on potholes were no longer a problem… as we only had ungraded gravel roads (tracks) to drive on. The going was slow but we were excited as the trip was almost over. At about 4pm it was Dawie’s turn to misjudge a really bad section of road. We now had another flat trailer tyre and irreparable rim and (we only discovered later) sheared leaf-springs. The only option was to leave Dawie with the trailer and drive to Morrumbala and get the spare wheel repaired. The roads were now really bad and the 30km drive took over an hour. It was getting late and I didn’t want Dawie alone on the road after dark.
But he was obviously good at what he does and after panel beating the rim, sealing it with grease and inflating the tyre, I was able to return to Dawie with the wheel. When I got back to him it was already dark and he was surrounded by curious locals.
I have never seen anyone as pleased to see me before!
At just after 9pm we finally arrived at Fraqueza Village, near Morrumbala, where the local GCI headquarters is. The warm welcome with much singing and hand shaking washed away our weariness. We then pitched our tent and passed out for the night.
I would like to thank my friend Leigh Smithson (also from Canada) for his kindness and thoughtfulness. After travelling on a similar trip with me last July, and sleeping on the hard ground in tents, he bought and sent back to SA two self inflating super-comfortable mattresses. They make such a difference, and allowed both Dawie and myself to get a really good night’s sleep for the 4 nights that we spent camped in the village. I look forward to using them again for many more trips.
The next morning we were able to hand out all the supplies and gifts that we had brought with us-
A TRAILER LOAD FULL OF GIFTS FOOD PACKS
The appreciation showed by these humble people was overwhelming!
(Dawie was one of the members who dug the wells last year- He forwarded me his thoughts and observations on how the wells were working)
Of course I was looking forward to see how the two wells that were dug last year by us were working. It was really exciting to see how “well” it was going.
I could immediately see how these wells have changed the lives of people who live in that village, how it has added to the successful functioning of the conference and how it has had a positive impact on the people around the village on their physical comfort and their contact with God through his people.
In the same way the wells in the Village where the conference was held (and has now been held for the past 3 years) and the well on the church property nearly a kilometre away have brought a fresh, cool, cleaner way of life to the people of the Village, and the surrounding villages and homes.
EVEN KIDS CAN DRAW WATER
The well on the church property is along the “main road”, not really a road in anybody’s wildest imagination, the main thoroughfare to the small town of Morrumbala which is the main centre of all the economic activity in the area. Hundreds of people use this road every day and the well is ideally located for people to stop and have a drink of cool clean refreshing water.
Travellers, who mainly walk or ride bicycles, travel long distances without the chance of having something to drink. And many times when they do, the water is not clean or they have to pay for it. The well on the Church property is for the people who need water to drink.
The water is clear and clean, the well is about 6 meters deep. The water is about two meters deep. That means the well holds about 2 thousand litres of clean water. The well has been dug deeper and more rings, have been added by the Villagers.
The wells were constructed by using concrete/cement rings (about 750 mm in height and 1200 mm in diameter), the same type of concrete rings used for the construction of pipelines). The concrete ring is placed on the ground and the soil/ground is removed until the ring slides downwards. The next ring is added on top and more soil is removed, the hole gets deeper, adding more rings, and in this way creating a shaft – a well. The great advantage of constructing the well in this way is that it can be dug deeper if it dries-up by adding more rings.
In discussions with the Villagers they say the well dries-up in the months of November/December, the driest months of the year. They have added more rings and dug the well deeper, and this has worked well because there is now also a deeper “reserve” of water. But they say they cannot dig the well any deeper because they have now reached solid rock.
The water in the well in the Village itself is also clear and clean. Here more concrete rings were also added to the well which was also dug deeper. A ring that was “made” on site, with the mould that we brought from South Africa, was used so that the well could be dug deeper.
The Village well is now about 7 meters deep with the water level about 3 meters deep. That is over 3 thousand litres of water. It was good to see that the water level in this well did not drop during the conference even though it was used to cater for more than 700 people. People were drawing water all day – and even through the night – to drink, cook and wash with. Normally the Villagers would have had to walk about a kilometre and a half to fetch water and then the old water is quality was very poor.
The water, from the Village well, is also being used by at least one neighbouring village, as well as also supporting other households near the Village.
Unfortunately this well has also being drying up in the months of November/December, and then the Village has had to revert back to using their “old” source of water. The old “water-hole” is now overgrown and obviously not used. The water looks grey and stagnant. However, the leaders of the Village say there is a definite improvement in their health since they started using the water from the well and that there are definitely less stomach related sicknesses.
Due to a generous donation by Wishing Well International, we were able to install 5 water purification units in the Morrumbala region, one of them at the site of the well in the village. Hopefully now when they have to revert to their old water supply, the quality of the drinking water will still be of a high standard.
It was great to see God working through His people making the construction of these wells possible and the positive impact it is having not only God’s people in this Village in Mozambique, but the hundreds and hundreds people who are coming into contact with Jesus, at the well, when they come for a drink of cool clean water.
Our Sincere thanks go to Ken Lister from
H2O International SA (Pty) Ltd
Wishing Well International Foundation
for the donation of 5 Hydraid Bio-sand water filters which we were able to install in the Zambezia Province of Northern Mozambique, in and around the town of Morrumbala.
Having clean drinking water is a basic neccessity that most of us take for granted. In countries like Mozambique water sources are often contaminated by animals as well as run-off containing harmfull bacteria from excrement and decay. These filters are literally a life saving initiative that improve the life of all who drink from them.
In all cases, each home where the filters were installed agreed to provide their neighbours with clean drinking water too.
Manuel Vasco, pictured above was trained in installing the units, and would be able to undertake this without assistance in future, if neccessary.
The rate of flow was measured with all units and was between 400ml and 450ml per minute.
Consideral time was spent with each household explaining the importance of avoiding cross contamination, not using the equipment for any other purpose and not disturbing the unit in any way.
The process of instalation is shown below:
Levelling Filling with gravels
Sealing and fitting diffuser Filling
The units were installed at the following locations:
Fraqueza Village, about 4.5km North of Morrumbala, Zambezia