SATURDAY morning meant another drive back down the mountain into Moshi town. Alphonse and I first visited an advocate (attorney) then contacted his attorney daughter Upendo in Dar es Saalam for further guidance, regarding the legal registration of the Uru East Water Board.
A quick stop at TANESCO electric company also provided some additional information about cost estimations and regular readings on the electricity required to run our water pump, which is a primary budgetary concern for this Uru community.
SUNDAY began with 7am Mass at the Roman Catholic Church in Kishumundu. Ninety percent of the Uru East residents attend this church, so it is a community center, a means of dispensing important communications within the community, and a source of spiritual inspiration for the residents, as well.
Father Jumatano is new to this parish but has been a strong advocate for community support of our water project already. I have enjoyed his messages (once interpreted to me from Swahili) because of their strong advocacy for self initiative and self empowerment through individual and community participation.
Our cooperative project is really a model for global community initiative, at a grass roots level. And I am continually gratified at how the Uru people step up to the challenges inherent in working with our water project (distance, language and cultural challenges, communication issues (internet, electricity, lack of basic resources etc.). We in the USA have much to learn from these people regarding community organization and participation.
MONDAY was spent preparing for the 22 member Uru East Water Board Meeting, with suggestions for legal registering as either a Trust or Water Association and decisions to be made regarding the distribution of our water to the community. We are at the point for final selection of who will receive the water from our Grandmother Well at Kimocholo… which is being piped to the 2 existing cisterns we are repairing… and the third cistern we are building.
ICBD’s role is to suggest priorities and support decisions that will ensure sustainability and ecological considerations. This first borehole has enough water volume to provide the daily drinking water for 4 of the 7 villages in Uru East, about 5000 people. The location of the cisterns (holding tanks) influences some of the choice of recipients… but since water can be piped to public access points… good and selfless decision making is also required. These are considerations made for ‘the greater good’ and not individual benefit.
TUESDAY began with casual conversation while waiting for the arrival of all Board members. Mr. Tingitana laughingly shared a story regarding ‘ a junebug that is lying on its’ back waiting for someone to turn it over’. The implication was that the Uru community had been a ‘junebuggie lying on it’s back, waiting for the ICBD friends to show up and turn it over’, in this issue of water. I have been called worse in life.. and the image of the junebug with it’s legs swimming in the air made me laugh. And who among us has not waited or prayed and hoped for the ‘hand and stick of someone’ that will spur positive action in our lives? So then we all laughed… and laughed again… at our common predicaments, even as we thanked God and one another for ‘playing our parts’.