DO Diaries: Day Six

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Today we started off with a couple meetings at our DO office. The first meeting was with Pastor Gibson, who is a pastor in the southern providence of Malawi and is connected with the ministry Big Life. As DO, we’re continuing to build capacity with our Training of Trainers program and have been in talks with Big Life to train pastors who may be able to connect with communities and help maintain LifePumps in rural areas. Pastor Gibson mentioned that he has 12 communities right now that need water and understands the need for deeper reaching pumps that last longer. In fact, we heard the president of Malawi recently say to the Parliament that deep boreholes are needed in Malawi. This reality affects almost everyone who has lived in or knows someone that lives in rural areas of Malawi. After that meeting, we talked with a videographer who is going to help us with a new video telling the story of Chickwangwala, a community where we helped install a LifePump in December 2020, and how it’s making an impact just six months later.

In the afternoon we did something that I both dread and have never done in Malawi—we went shopping. 😊 We’re working to identify furniture and appliances for our guest house that Hugo and Bre will be moving into this July. Our first stops were at the local markets where local craftsmen make furniture. It’s actually very impressive seeing them work with mainly hand woodworking tools. Watching someone use a hand planer to shape a rough-cut board makes me think I’ve stepped into a living history museum in the US. The furniture is impressive quality given the tools and available supplies. We also looked at appliances such as a small stove and refrigerator. We need gas-powered appliances, since grid power is unreliable here in Malawi and a solar system to power such appliances is expensive. Gas-powered stoves are common in the US, but a gas-powered refrigerator is probably a new concept for more of us. It’ll be a lot of work setting up the guest house, but it should be all ready by the end of July.

After shopping and meetings at the office, we were invited to meet with the Bwaila Rotary Club for dinner and celebrated the kickoff of our new Rotary grant. This grant has been at least two years in the making and will help 20 rural communities gain access to much needed water through LifePumps, along with WASH training and supplies. There are nearly 30 Rotary Clubs in Ohio that have come together to help make this happen financially, and the Bwaila Club in Lilongwe will manage the boots on the ground portion. We’re also excited to be working with drilling partner Doxa who will be drilling 10 new wells. The conversation was lively with Rotarians with topics ranging from the project to American politics to religion. Our brother Hafez from Doxa was there, and we were able to catch up. I first met him about two years ago, and he’s a humble, soft-spoken leader in Rotary. Tragically, his wife suddenly passed away in January of this year, leaving three kids. We are praying for him and his family.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Chickwangwala for the video shoot and the NGO Africa Enterprises will be there as part of a Gospel outreach event. It’ll be great fun seeing this all come together and spending time in the community. We appreciate all your prayers and support. We’re only ambassadors here in Malawi. Our amazing, dedicated team of engineers, marketers, fundraisers, accountants, lawyers, business development, financial partners, industry partners, and many other professionals are helping to make this possible.

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