Friday, November 5, 2010

The New Well is Started and the Beginning City Ceremony

The new well is finally moving forward. Ed and I went with the Moody’s to meet the heads of the city water department and our new buddy... the mayor. They took us to the new well sight, and then we walked around the five neighborhoods, which will get the first delivery of water. (The city has promised that they have funds set aside to extend the water lines out into other commercial and residential areas. ) As we walked through these neighborhoods and saw the families whose lives will be dramatically improved, I realized that we are very blessed to be part of this church who is making it a priority to do this monumental project. I watched my wonderful husband, who knows very little French, and now has a hired interpreter, interact with these Africans like he has done it all his life. The first hurdle we faced is that the new well is being built upon an old cemetery. All the city officials agreed that we would need to have a special ceremony to have the blessings of the departed ancestors in order for the well to be successful. It was such an important event that the Mayor was the special guest, to thank the church for it’s funding. There were radio and TV stations interviewing us, and we were the guests of honor. It was a big deal! After a speech by the water commissioner, the Mayor, and the branch president we all moved over to the drilling machinery for the “Tribal leaders & special spiritual women” to bless the land, that those whose departed spirits were being disturbed would support this important water project that would give life to many others. We were respectful of it all, but definitely Ed and I raised our eyebrows when they started spewing wine all over the equipment and the ground
It was quite a show. (Dad, you would have loved it.). We then went with a walk with all the dignitaries to see the neighborhoods that would be supplied by the well. The land was blessed, the Mayor loves us, the drillers started the work after a ribbon cutting ceremony, and all was well. We were told the well would be drilled in 3-6 weeks and the system to the 5 stations would be completed by the end of January. The next week the drilling was stopped. The Catholic church is the main church in the Congo. The Catholic church in the area called the branch president and demanded to know who gave us permission to drill the well. We referred them to the city water department, as our church is only funding the well. After 2 weeks of discussions and meetings between the Catholics and the city, work began again.
The following week some of the drill parts broke. For the past 20 days we have been told every day by the drilling contractor that “they have gone to the airport to pick up the parts” or “they have gone to Brazzaville (which is an hours flight) to get the parts.” So far we haven’t seen the parts to repair it. Ed checks with them every morning, but they are still "waiting for the parts". We shall see what next week brings. This promises to be an adventure. We can now see why the church insisted on someone monitoring the situation on a day to day basis.
"Patience, Elder and Sister Gates... Patience. T.I.A!" (This is Africa!)

1 comment:

  1. ha! That is funny. That photo of all the kids in the village that you are helping is such a great shot. What an amazing experience you are having.