Day 2: Another Amazing Day -Esther Choe
What a busy day it was! Today we headed out early to visit four villages that have received wells from Golf Fore Africa. Three of the wells were funded from our annual Scottsdale Strong Women Strong World Luncheon, and the other from donors Kandi Davis and Trevor Povah. The stories we heard made me laugh, cry, and everything in between. Here are the highlights I took away from each village.
On our first stop, we met with Mary and her 4 kids. She said her kids stayed home from school today to see the “mzunga”, or the “white people”. We got a kick out of that! Again, I was very inspired to see the changes that clean water has brought to this family. In particular, having easy access to clean water (the new well was just a stone’s throw away!) allowed Mary to be creative and innovative. Of the homes we have visited, Mary was the first we saw to implement a water conservation method. She showed us a drainage system she had made which allowed the water from her bathing shelter to flow into her garden. She was growing bananas, pumpkin leaves, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and peanuts. I love what she told us, “Our garden supplements our diet. We do not experience hunger anymore.” This statement is especially powerful knowing the history of droughts in Zambia.
On our next stop, we met with 47-year-old Gertrude, a wife, and mother of 8. She was a joyful character, full of life and eager to share her stories with us. The stories started out on a sad note, about life before the new water source. Most notably, she told us about an incident a couple of years ago when she started smelling something weird in their water from the community’s hand-dug well. Gertrude said that the water started tasting funny, and cooking with it made everything taste strange as well. It turned out that a cow had fallen into the well, and the community only realized what had happened when the cow eventually floated to the top. It was so sad to hear her say that their only option was to remove the cow and continue drinking the contaminated water.
One other point really struck me about her life before access to clean water. She expressed that it was very hard to be neighborly. Gertrude reflected on the times when groups of boys herding cows nearby would come to her and ask for water to drink. She saw them working hard but could only offer them a small cup of water to share because of how difficult it was for her to get that water. She felt shameful but had to take care of her own family first. Now, Gertrude says when people ask for water, she can give them a whole bucket! She loves that she can be generous now.