Thursday, July 5, 2012
Today's picture was taken in 1939 near Mashall, Texas. It shows a man drawing water from a newly installed hand pumps. The hand pumps are much more efficient, and safer than the old open wells where water was drawn with a bucket.
Well, I had hoped to show you pictures today of the well being finished, but things always take longer than you would like in Africa. A project with ten men can come to a standstill for want of a single nail or board. The men will stop and disassemble something else to scavenge a nail, and then later go back and replace the nail from the structure they had borrowed it from. Being in the US, it is easy to mock or criticize, but when you are over here, you begin to understand. Wages run about ten cents an hour. No one has anything, and the cost of securing transport back to town and then back to the job site, and the cost of nails, does not warrant a trip. It is more economic to scavenge the nail. So, another way to look at things is that they are incredibly resourceful here to get things built with no equipment, no resources and no materials.
Anyway, we have completed the concrete work at the top of the well. The slab to the right, when dry, will be lifted up and put on the top of the well head. Then the hand pump will be installed. I have already secured the pump head, rods, pipes and fittings, so we should be ready to install as soon as the concrete is in place.
The man standing by the well is Charles and he started the orphanage and is in charge of it. The orphanage has no supporters, and the children survive by poor farmers in the area periodically giving a bag of maze or a few cabbages. Charles wife has a small shop in town, and she supports them. They probably make $100 per month from her shop in town. I think much of that goes towards feeding the kids when locals in the area do not come through. So my hope and prayer is that this well will make their burdens lighter in caring for the kids. Also, I had not mentioned this but I am putting in a "Chickie Town, Africa Edition". They will have a chicken coup and 75 chickens when I leave. Hopefully they can sell some eggs, and perhaps some garden produce to help support themselves.
While I was hear, my daughter's best friend, Lisa Dees, was also out visiting. She has become very excited about these children. She has now returned to the US, but she hopes to organize a team that will come out here in December for a "Christmas in Kenya", with the goal being to have the team spruce the place up, and provide each child at this facility with a mattress, mosquito nets, water filters, clothes, and other essential necessities.
As I mentioned, Charles receives no compensation for his full time work running the orphanage. In addition, the "Nanny" who cares for the children is herself a widow with two children. She receives no money, but does get to live and eat at the orphanage. The man that tends the garden is paid $10 per month.
I say all this to just suggest we should all periodically self-reflect. I think it is easy to lose sight of how much we have, and what a struggle it is in some places for people to simply keep children alive.