Thursday, December 1, 2011

Water is Flowing in Pommern!

After many years of planning, fundraising and construction, the Pommern Water Project is completed.

On November 23, 2011 the Pommern community gathered for a huge dedication ceremony for the Pommern Water Project and we were there to help celebrate! Bishop Mdegella of the Iringa Diocese, ELCT, was the guest of honor. There were three large choirs – a congregation choir from the Lutheran church, a Secondary School choir, and a Primary School choir. At least 300 hundred people attended or participated in the celebration.

The choirs led a large procession from the Mission House, up the road past the Medical Clinic, to the water storage platform. Representatives of the Lutheran church, Roman Catholic church, village government, the regional water district, and Mimi and I were in the procession. Bishop Mdegella brought up the very rear.

The procession moved to the water storage platform to bless the new water system. The chairman of the local Pommern Water Project Task Force read aloud a project report. We helped unveil a commemorative plaque. The plaque was removed and three local children placed a copy of the project report, the Lutheran catechism, and a Global Volunteers emblem behind it, then the plaque was replaced and sealed in place.

We then moved to the concrete basin and faucet where we ceremoniously helped two women fill water buckets and place them on their heads. We were afraid we might tip the buckets over, but we didn’t and all was fine.

The Bishop and all of us next moved to a cleared area on the other side of the platform where the ground had been cleared and smoothed as a large performance area. An enclosure was built earlier of eucalyptus saplings, rough planks and bright cloth for us “VIPs” and we took our seats there. We enjoyed beautiful performances by the three choirs, and especially from the Primary School choir. Each dance and song had a theme of the benefits of water to the community. Some songs included simple skits of drinking water or planting and watering seeds.

Then followed remarks or statements by many of the guests, including Haran Ngede for the Secondary School, a representative of the local village government, the head of the regional water district, and the Roman Catholic priest. We spoke and thanked many people and organizations by name for their support and assistance. One of the local Lutheran pastors stood with us and translated our English into Kiswahili for the audience. Last to speak was Bishop Mdegella who spoke of the importance of this water project, the need to properly sustain it, and the need for good leadership. The ceremony concluded when the Bishop presented us with sections of fabric – a beautiful kanga for Mimi and a print fabric for me to use for a shirt. We really appreciated the gifts and thanked Bishop Mdegella for his consideration!

The official day concluded with about 30 guests gathering in the Mission House for a meal of rice, beans, beef, chicken, and bananas. Two reporters from the Iringa Diocese radio station interviewed us.

More work is ahead. The rest of the trench will be filled in. At least four more concrete and brick boxes for air valves will be built along the pipeline. The air valves will be installed in the boxes. The 2-inch pipe will be rerouted to the storage tanks, they will be connected together, and a pipe will exit to a distribution manifold. The manifold will send water through valves to 1-inch pipes for final distribution. Trenches will be dug and 1-inch pipes will be buried and faucets will be intalled. The platform will get a roof and fence. Chemical purification will be added to the storage tanks to help clean the water.

And many, many people will benefit from easy and reliable access to water.
-Eric Noyes, Tanzania Volunteer
Pommern Water Project