Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Well Dedication...

June 1, 2013

Today we had the opportunity to attend a well dedication. What a fun event! We went with our new friends, the Moon’s (the church humanitarian couple) and the ByBee’s (the church public relations couple). The Moon’s were in charge of representing the church for the wells and spring developments. This celebration was for a new water system that provides water for a valley of about 11,000 residents. This doesn’t mean it takes it to their homes… just to a neighborhood pump or spring. I think there are 5 different springs on the system they have just completed.

We drove about an hour from our home… and arrived early (about an hour before the ceremony started at noon). We had to walk down a very narrow path to the river, which had been worn down over the centuries so that the narrow trail was carved down with walls on the side 6-12 feet high.  The neighborhood was very humble.  This is an outhouse we passed.

We hiked down into a gorgeous valley, about a mile, to get to the chief’s home and the area with the hand pump. This is where the main ceremony was held. Someone had been paid to haul down over 100 chairs and 4 shade covers. We also had some Congolese men and boys carry down the bottled drinks and bread rolls, which were to be the refreshments, after the ceremony. There was a good size sound system, which was BLASTING African music before the ceremony.

Things started out very calm. The valley was filled with lush vegetation! Ed and I found a spot that would stay in the shade for a couple of hours, and sat and read books on our Kindle and I Pad.  These are some of the children who were able to sit in one section.  They were very excited to see the water actually pumped out of the ground. 

The main ceremony lasted about an hour and a half. It was all in French, so we didn’t understand most of it. However, we could tell that these people were extremely grateful to the church for improving the wells and spring sources.  These are the first children getting their drinks after the dedication. 

After the main ceremony, the loud music started again. We (the dignitaries) walked into the bottom of the valley, about another ½ mile, where the river flowed.

There was a spring of clean water by the river, which the church had also developed. As we got closer we could hear very loud chanting and drums beating. They kept saying the same thing over and over. (About 8 or 9 words) We couldn’t understand it all, but we understood the word “Moondelli” which means “white man”. Between the very African drumming and chanting and the interesting neighborhood, (at the bottom of a Congolese Valley) I realized that there was no “quick getaway.” Ed kept laughing at me, as I would roll my eyeballs. I just kept hoping that the chant was saying something good about the “Moondellis”. When we arrived at the river, there was a group of about 100 children who were from the local school, and were there to welcome us with the chant. The Moon’s interpreter came to us and told us they were saying “We have been waiting many, many years for water. Thank you to the Moondellis!”

We had a ribbon cutting ceremony and watched the locals playing and washing in the river. There was a nonstop line of people filling up their bidos… and anything else that would hold water… and taking good clean drinking water to their homes. There were many very happy people. It was very rewarding.

As we hiked back up to return to the Chief’s home (where the first ceremony was) the interpreter told us we were being followed by some bad men who might make trouble, and that we should start walking up to the cars as soon as possible (about a mile and a half up the hill.) He said there may be trouble when the refreshments were taken out, because there wasn’t enough for the huge crowd that had gathered. When we got to the location of the original ceremony there were hundreds of people “dancing” to the drums and loud music. It sounded and felt like we were in Africa!!!!   Everyone quieted down and we ended the ceremony with a closing prayer, with deep gratitude for the water that had been provided for the neighborhood. The drums, the music and the “dancing” commenced, and we were whisked away to start climbing up the side of the valley.

The climb up was steep, but very pleasant, because of the friendly Congolese who were lined up outside of their homes watching us. 

They all knew about the water and realized that the 6 “Moondellis” were to be appreciated. The children were darling and fun, and many followed us up the trail. We arrived at the top without any problems, and realized that we should be thankful for such a marvelous cultural experience with good people.

The children are absolutely wonderful.  Most have never seen Moondellis, because they never leave the small area in which they were born.  Through an interpreter I told this group about Savvy (our adopted black granddaughter) saying she is "chocolate" and we are "banana".   So I teased them about being chocolate.  They do know chocolate is something rare and delicious.    By the time we left, they were all laughing and waving. 

PS… We did hear the report that soon after we left, the “bad guys” broke into the Chief’s house and stole several crates of the red and orange bottled sodas. Therefore, when there was a shortage of drinks, it was blamed on them. It was another fun day in the Congo!


  1. Another great post! And I'm loving dad's pictures with the good camera! That last picture of the 3 children... BEAUTIFUL! Good job dad! When you retire, you should just become a photographer! :)

  2. Yeah... I am crying. I am so thankful for chocolate children.

    what a beautiful post!

  3. Yeah... I am crying! I am so thankful for chocolate children!

  4. I love this! I can just see you walking up the hill with the children either side, really makes you appreciate our water too!

  5. I love this! I can see you walking up the hill! It really makes me appreciate my warer!!