There is a torrential rain pouring down on Uru bringing hail from the top of Kilimanjaro. The tin roof of the Ngowi home reflects every pinging of ice, and the banana trees bend around us, their great leaves swirling under water and wind.
The seasonal ‘big rains’ do not come usually until late March, April or even May, so this is an untimely but welcome rain for those who live here. Small roads and dry creek beds will become living rivers, with water rushing down the mountain side, gaining great momentum as it flows.
Unexpected rain relieves the long droughts, dampening the ever present red dust and reviving plants, animals and people alike, all of whom yearn for water. But as fast as these ‘roads turned to rivers’ swell, they will just as quickly dry up tomorrow, and the earth will crack open again under the heat of the African sun.
Our work progresses on the water project after Tuesday’s Uru East Water Board Meeting of 22 people including village representatives, 7 village chairpersons, our cooperating NGO and the assistant district water engineer. Four villages were selected to receive the water from the Grandmother Well at Kimocholo. This decision was based on topography, placement of existing and future cisterns, and to provide relief for those suffering the most from lack of clean water. Five thousand people will be served by this sweet water, a water so good… it requires no addition of chemicals or purifiers.
The Board also made the very courageous decision to pull out any and all very old pipes from these four villages, decaying remnants of colonial days, coffee plantations, mission churches and subsequent haphazard attempts at tapping into these old water systems. There has never been a single village-wide distribution of water here before, let alone of four villages. So the letting go of any old sources, however polluted or unreliable they may be, is a great act of trust and commitment to the common good.
With action being spurred on by my planned departure date next Tuesday, the four recipient villages have organized a mandatory work day this Monday. Every able bodied citizen will participate, digging out the old systems and making way for renewed life and opportunity in Uru.