Saturday, April 9, 2011

Humanitarian "Clean Water Project": Elder and Sister Merkley

We are honored for two weeks, to have Elder and Sister Merkley, Humanitarian Aid missionaries, here in Bujumbura to represent the church in partnering and organizing a Water Project to benefit this area.  According to Elder Merkley, Elder Frogley has been " invaluable" in working with the Commissioner of Energy and others on his staff as a translator and resource for this planning stage of the project.

This is an example of one of the types of water projects being considered.  It comes from a natural water source higher up the mountain and is gravity fed to a central location for people to come and freely have access to clean, uncontaminated water.

After meeting with the Commissioner of Energy, we were to accompany Jean Bosco, his chief  Water Engineer to see completed, well-functioning water projects in Bujumbura.

This is the rainy season and so everything is green and plush. However, we asked what it was like in the dry season and they said, "Just like thisl"  They get soooo much rain and humidity that it is much like this year round....a veritable "Garden of Eden".

Naturally, we passed places of residence along the main road.

We also had many bicycles pass by us going downhill at 60 mph into Bujumbura with their goods.

We also saw daily activities of industry.  This man and another (not pictured) were working with three metal containers baking the red mud into bricks.

 After passing a goat market, where many types goats and sheep were for sale, we stopped .  We walked a short distance to see the holding tank for the first village's fresh water supply.  The reservior and catch basin that fill this tank are at the top of the mountain. They must lay pipeline from there to here.

Then walking a small foot path about 100 feet downhill into the mouth of a little village is the water fountain that the villagers come to fill their containers and take back to their homes for use. Not pictured are about 50 people standing behind me as I took this photo. They were friendly and wanted to shake our hands. One young man spoke french and began a conversation. The others seemed to be Kirundi speaking.......but their smiles said alot!

 Most people just stood and watched but this woman must have felt the need to get on with her day.  She stepped right up, rinsed out her container (bidon) and began to refill it.  She then put it on her head and began her walk to her home with her children following her. The Commission of Energy has a goal to have a water spigut within 500 meters of every home.  They have a long way to go to meet that goal.

This was the beginning of their little village market area. The road between the buildings was just wide enough for one vehicle to pass through.  Our next water source was on the other side of this little town and we would need to go through it.

A little further into the market, it became busier!

This was a small shop that had skinned some goats.  The meat was for sale and they had some meat cooking for immediate consumption.  See how this shop sits on the top edge of the beautiful valley?

We saw many aspects of life in a village market.  The people were extremely curious at our presence but very  friendly.

As you can see, it was  African Commerce at it's best!

After passing through the market place, the Water Engineer led us to our next example of a good, functioning water source.

These people had walked down to the earlier marketplace and were now returning to their own village, which had no market place. The scenery was breath-taking!

This photo gives you an example of their resourcefulness.  Every piece of land, regardless of it's steep slope, is farmed and producing extremely well.

The portion of land that looks like dirt only is actually a newly planted field.  You can see many other plantings well into their growth. Because Bujumbura is 3 degrees from the equator, there is alot of rain and humidity. Everything grows beautifully!

Here are more examples of their productivity.  There were very few roads......but many, many footpaths.  They walk wherever they go. You an see how far many of them must walk to get to their homes.  As you can imagine, they are a very strong people. The beauty is unrivaled!

As we arrived near the next village, we pulled in just before this building on the right and parked.

We had a climb ahead of us on the paths the villagers walk everyday! You can see some of their homes. We had only gone a small way when we turned around and realized the beauty that was all around us.  I took this photo and then realizing I could not get the mountainside above this, so I took the next photo.

You can see Elder Merkley's white hat, as I just raised the camera and took a photo of above where I had just been.

As we walked up the footpath, little children ran along with us!  It was hard to believe this beautiful place was their home!

As you can see, amongst the banana trees, there were green beans planted everywhere with bamboo shoots placed for the vines to climb.

Continuing on through the long stretch of banana plantation....

...we came to the next Holding Tank.  You can see without this great water resource near their village how difficult it would be to retrieve and carry water from the first village pictured. This is the type of clean, uncontminated water project the church would like to bless the people in other villages of Bujumbura with. There is a great effort to educate the public of the waterborn diseases including cholera and others that take the lives of almost half of the children under the age of 5 and plague the adults of diahrrea and other symptoms.

You can still see the Holding Tank down the hill from where we were standing.

These children live in the home to the left and the pile of bricks is for another upcoming home.

As we looked over the vista, we had amazing views!

Father in Heaven loves His children. He has made a beautiful world for his children to enjoy!

This Mother gave us permission to take a photo of her family! The word, "PHOTO" seems to be understood in almost every language. After taking the picture, I turned the camera around and showed the photo to them.  The mother laughed and squealed with joy and her children giggled.  It was the first time to every see themselves  in a photo.     Note:  Down in the recessed area behind this family, the little girl was playing hopscotch!

Starting back down the hill, were some more of their homes.  These even had wooden doors!

As I walked along, it began to rain and this girl took her heard of goats around me.

We just had to take one last  look as we came back down.

"...the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;...the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses,...or for orchards or for gardens or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth...are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart:....and it pleaseth God that He hath given all these things unto man..." (D&C 59:16-20)

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