In Uru Tanzania the dirt roads are rough and pitted, the paths are steep, and walking or driving is often dangerous. Seasonal small rains turn the red clay soil into slippery impassable slides that are treacherous for vehicles and anyone on foot. An Uru teacher was recently making her way to school on a path wet from the night’s rain. While navigating a particularly steep ravine she slid and tumbled into the crevasse below. The teacher survived the fall with bruising but no broken bones, fortunate, at least this time, no lasting injury occurred. Our good friends Antonia and Tingi were upset and concerned about not only what had happened to the teacher, but about the potential for future injury to others. With the vision and initiative we have come to deeply appreciate from our Uru friends, they resolved that ‘something must be done’. Antonia asked her husband Tingi, a retired engineer & volunteer for our water project, to design a simple bridge spanning this ravine children and teachers cross daily. Antonia gathered lumber from her farm and asked several village men to bring tools to the planned bridge site.
A sturdy bridge was built that very Saturday rising from the concern of one woman for another and facilitated by a little wood, a few helping hands, and the belief that the problem at hand could and therefore should be solved NOW! The image of this bridge in far off Tanzania reminded me of the bridges we all have an opportunity and obligation to build. Bridges we are called to build in order to span the gaps of a life less fortunate or a situation that “could be better.” For those of us working for safe water access in Uru, our faith and efforts in this mission are built on the realization that every person matters, that one person helped by a few can make a difference, and that there is real power to change the landscape and community when humanity works together.