Water is life and life has returned to Chigodi Women’s Center! Early on July 1, 2010 water began to flow through Blantyre Water Board pipes to Chigodi Women’s Center. Now this may not seem like a big deal in other parts of the world, but it is in Malawi and particularly at Chigodi. It has taken 10 months to accomplish this and I am so excited and so full of praise to God that I am hardly able to contain myself.
The process of turning on water has taken twists and turns and detours along the way. First was the assessment of how best to provide water to a center on top of a hill. The site is beautiful for a retreat center, but water does not flow uphill and pumping it up from a well at the bottom had proven to be problematic. The reason the well was at the bottom was because of the depth of drilling needed through rock to reach the water table, so the well was well positioned to draw water, but not to pump water. Two generators had been burned up trying because of inadequate electrical power. It would have taken over MK 1,000,000 to correct the electrical connections, so that was not an option. We didn’t have the money. We were hand-drawing water from a well at the top of the hill, our only source of water for the entire Center. This well ran dry in the dry season and we have to go to the bottom of the hill to draw water, then carry it up the hill. When we began to further investigate, we learned that the Blantyre Water Board had similar problems with the flow to their connections, since they had been pumping uphill as well. That is why the Center had disconnected with them and opted for the well in the first place. But they were installing a new line above the Center to service a new area over the hill from us. We petitioned them and reasoned with them, in the course of several meetings, until they finally agreed to run a line down to Chigodi from this new line. We were delighted, but this would take time. The pipe had to be laid and all the connections made. This was all delayed by the rainy season when none of this digging could be done. Finally in late April, the digging began again and progress was made. Once they thought they had their line secured, they contacted us to prepare for the connection. This took some time because they couldn’t open the lines until the connections within the Center were secured. We didn’t want to have water flowing through leaking pipes. Finally two weeks ago this was all accomplished and we contacted them, expecting water to come immediately. But it didn’t. The Water Board reported that they had leaks further down the line and couldn’t turn on water until those were fixed. So we waited. Everything was in place, but the Water Board was not responding. When we inquired early this week about the delay, they told us that they had problems with the truck they use to make connections, so we needed to wait for them to get the truck up and running. My hope all along was that we would have water by the end of June. It was not looking hopeful. June 30 ended with no water at the Center.
This morning (July 1), the first person to greet me at the Synod offices was our young accountant from Chigodi. He lives at the Center but works from the Synod. He had just come from his home. He joyfully reported that water had begun to flow from the connection to his house early this morning. The water was turned on! Without pomp and ceremony, water just began to flow where it had not flowed for several years. The Center has running water! I can’t begin to express my joy. This is the answer to months of prayers. This is the evidence of a future and a hope for the Center. This is a new beginning of programming at the Center because we can now have folks stay there, knowing they have save water for all the needs of their comfort as they learn with us. We have several international guests coming to assist with programming and they will be well provided for with water now. Praise God for his provision, in His perfect time.