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Lara Kroeker Interactive

Chapter 38: Tomoke

A few days later, work resumed at the project site after I convinced Bar that we had explained to the village people why we couldn’t have extra lines, and they all agreed. It was too tiring to place blame—and doing so could put the entire project in jeopardy—so we just left it at that. The villagers learned why extra lines wouldn’t be happening, the engineer kept his position, and we went back to work.

We went through the village and filled the trenches back in and had a few of the boys making sure that any we didn’t see were also filled in, too. In a small village, everyone knows everything, so there would be no extra trenches since we had addressed it publicly, and the chief had let people know that extra trenches were now illegal.

Workers placed a door on the tower and covered the borehole. The pillar that would hold the solar panels was nearly complete, and the pipes were being laid inside the 10km of trenches.

As I was watching the work, I looked up in the tree and saw an animal hide and asked why it was there. Apparently, the entire village had come out the day before the village meeting and performed a ceremony called a Tomoke. They slaughtered a lamb and then threw the remains on the incomplete structures to bless them and pray for peace. Since nobody had beaten the engineer, it looked like their ceremony worked, but I asked if they could perform it again to make it double-double sure that this project remained good and strong (and so that I could be a part of it).

On the way back to Kondoa, we passed by the riverbed for what seemed like the hundredth time. I saw all of the school kids digging their holes, but this time, they were twice as deep as they were last week. The rain had stopped, and Moshi said that in a few more weeks, the holes would be so deep that the kids would have to climb in and scoop up the water and pass it to their friends who would then put in the bucket. I tried to fill a bucket for one of the kids, and although I was just having fun, I felt in my body how hard this was to do.

Every day.

This was the big picture.