Buck Mountain Episcopal Church has supported 50 orphans in Mapinduzi, Tanzania through the Carpenter’s Kids program since 2009. Church members have visited Mapinduzi four times. Each time we have visited we have been told about a severe water problem. The well pump has been functioning intermittently during the last several years but then stopped working about two years ago.
The people were forced to obtain water by digging in the dry river bed traversed by goats and cattle. There was an increase in illness and deaths. School teachers would not stay in the village resulting in poorer than usual quality of education. The Medical Officer came to the clinic so infrequently that villagers were forced to travel long distances (on foot) for medical care.
In November 2014, a team from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), visited Mapinduzi and drew up a plan to rehabilitate the pump.Conditions of this proposal were that the village agrees to a training program for pump maintenance and that $10,000 be raised for cost of materials and labor: 1/3 from the village and 2/3 from Buck Mountain Church.
There was dissension in the village about how to best proceed but Engineers Without Borders and Pastor Ayubu were able to bring the two sides together. Our Outreach Committee approved the proposal and $7,600 was raised (a majority from Youth Group Projects and the rest from individual donations). The village was able to raise $3,000.
In March 2015, Roger Stillwater from Engineers Without Borders returned to Mapinduzi. The pump was pulled and it was determined that the damage was too severe to be fixed. By this time, Roger found the lack of water to have reached a crisis in that the previous rainy season was extremely dry (crops and animals were dying) and proposed that a small submersible pump be installed to provide a nominal level of water to the village. He stressed that this was only a temporary measure and that a much larger capacity pump was needed to adequately meet the village water requirement but the necessary funds ($30,000) were not available. Some men in the village agreed to fix some of the pipes which needed repair.
Art Symmes took over leadership of Buck Mountain Church’s part in this project by frequent communication with Engineers Without Borders about the best way to proceed. After prayerful consideration and conversations with many members of the Outreach Committee, we agreed that funding the short-term solution provided a satisfactory approach for providing Mapinduzi at least a marginal supply of water. As a result, Art authorized $7,000 to be sent for the implementation of this project. The small pump is now in place and the village water committee is undergoing training on pump maintenance.
Mapinduzi has now been added as an Engineers Without Borders-USA approved project. A team of five engineers from Engineers Without Borders (Boston Professional Chapter) will visit Mapinduzi during June 16-30 to draw up a long range water plan which would include a larger capacity pump with generator, storage tanks, and an improved distribution system. They are actively fund raising for the further implementation which may require $50,000-100,000.
For any questions about Mapinduzi please contact Art Symmes (firstname.lastname@example.org).