Day 5: Everyone can do something -Esther Choe

I have been looking forward to today this whole trip! Today we dedicated Emma Moses’s well at Mafiela village. For those who do not know, Emma funded the well her senior year in high school by hosting a jog-a-thon and pancake breakfast. It is so inspiring to see the impact of a high schooler using her resources to bring hope and change to an entire village halfway across the world.

When we arrived, the community welcomed us with singing and lots of dancing. I loved that they brought out a radio connected to solar panels to blast music. The village headman spoke, along with two of the respected women in the community, Beauty, and Judith. Beauty is an incredible woman, and when she found out that her village would be receiving a well, she mobilized the entire community to prepare. There are prerequisites for communities to accomplish before the well is drilled including building pit latrines, handwashing stations, and dish racks. These are all necessary in order to fully benefit from having clean water. With Beauty leading the effort, all of these things were done in ONE week, which is an incredible feat. Beauty spoke about how she previously had to budget her 20 liters (5 gallons) of water she carried home daily, that washing clothes and bathing were just not a priority. Now she says she’s so clean and has so much water, she can wash whatever she wants! Beauty concluded by saying, “The problem of water was just too much, but now I just want to dance!” It was a great moment and her joy was infectious.

Judith spoke next about the harsh realities they faced prior to having clean water close to their home. She told us the village used to get their water from a shallow pond, sharing the water source with animals. She told us her children would often get diarrhea from the water and spend too much time at the health clinic. Not only was the water dirty, but Judith also said it was difficult for her to bring home the standard 20 liters because the water source was so far away from her home. Not many people talk how taxing it is on the body and spinal cord to carry those heavy loads of water daily.

I left the village feeling inspired by Emma’s efforts to raise money to change the lives of those in Mafiela village. It is so great to see a young person see a need in the world and step up to make a difference. I hope Emma’s efforts will encourage others to know that, they too, can make an impact on the world.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito.” – African saying