We headed to Cheku to check out the well. As we drove up the long road Moshi talked about little things that happened during the project like the cars getting stuck and the drillers having to turn back and the village coming out to help. Just before we got to the site Zoe had to go to the bathroom so we went to one of the houses. Yasenta went in with Zoe and I’m glad I had a few minutes to think before we walked to the site.
We got out of the car and an old man immediately ran up to us and grabbed my hand. He was talking so fast but I could not understand. Moshi came up and introduced him as the man who is going to donate his land near the site to plant a nursery. We held hands as I walked to the site. I could see the solar panels in the distance and a group of people followed.
I stood at the site and smiled. There was water flowing out of 2 taps. I have thought about this day many times over the last few years and it was good. Good to see people. Good to see water. We didn’t spend that long at the site because people were starting to gather for the village meeting.
I have to say that I was, and still am, overwhelmed. There were over 100 people gathered to talk and as we sat down 10 women came out of nowhere splashing a blessing substance on our faces and on the car. They had a beaded white necklace that they put around our necks that symbolized peace. Moshi started talking and Yasenta was translating for me because it was all in Sahili and the mother tongue of the village. We had been practicing a greeting and Zoe did her’s first and then I did mine. Moshi talked about how we were strangers and didn’t know them but loved and cared about the villagers of Cheku and now we are all family. Oh my god I still tear up just writing that.
The well was officially handed over to the village (In their custom it had to be us to do that in person) and Moshi talked about how we were not a part of it anymore so any maintenance money had to come from them so they need to restructure things (from what I understood). He told them that I liked women better than men (ha ha!) and that he wanted to have a women’s group formed so tomorrow they are having a lunch for us. I am very excited about that.
Near the end he asked me to say a few more words in english so I thanked them for welcoming us and that the well was something that I thought about each night as I drank my glass of water before bed for 8 years. I talked about Queen Victoria and when I went to say Perry’s name I couldn’t say it because I got so choked up so I stood there trying to pull myself together. Then Zoe got up and talked about the kids who are now so much older at queen victora and how they walked for the children of Cheku imagining what it must be like to carry water all the time. I was very proud of Zoe at that moment and only wished that Loc could have been there too.
It’s late right now and I can hardly put 2 words together but I wanted to finish this before I put my dusty face on my pillow. This project changed alot of lives but mostly it changed the lives of the people in Cheku and made their life just a little bit easier. Tomorrow we plant trees with Richard who is headed here right now.
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