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When we visited Malawi earlier this year, we had the privilege of seeing a water well completed in real-time. For years, multiple communities south of Mchacha had been forced to draw water from a crowded well. Overuse resulted in the well often being broken or dried up, leaving the community without clean water. Our partners at Good News recognized this need, and we coordinated efforts to establish a new well. The well was to be built directly in front of the local church, a gathering place for the community.
While we have participated in over a hundred clean water projects, this would be our first time being present for the construction and launch of a well. When we arrived at the well site, a crowd was already gathering. The community was buzzing with anticipation and excitement. Think Christmas morning or the first day of school. But, as the construction crew set to work, things got quiet. It was as if speaking would somehow lessen the moment.
Before the last screw was on, a man began pumping the well. From the time he started pumping to the moment the first drop of water spilled out was about 60 seconds, and these seconds felt like years. Madzi ndi moyo! Water. Is. Life. The first drop of water initiated a party. The folks sitting nearby rushed to the well to dip their hands, take a sip, and even wash their babies.
For us, this experience was surreal and unforgettable. For the community, this event was life-changing. The launch of the well marks a new chapter for those living nearby. Better health, increased productivity, and higher school attendance are just a few benefits this well will bring the community.
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