It’s such a pleasure getting to represent God’s hands and feet through DO once again in Zimbabwe – a country that has endured much hardship and is a battleground for souls. We arrived a few days ago and were able to reach the remote Karanda Mission Hospital, where 33 LifePumps are now installed because of the generosity of amazing partners. This is a dry area that gets less rainfall compared to other places in the country. We first partnered with Karanda about two years ago when they heard about LifePump and wanted to help the surrounding communities get safe water. Even though the hospital is one of the best in the country, it sometimes rations water itself during the dry season, and the thousands of people surrounding the hospital were drinking water from nearby rivers. This was unacceptable to our missionary partners and so they started looking for a solution. The common hand pump in Zimbabwe is called the Bush Pump, but in areas such as Karanda, the water table is deeper than what the Bush Pump can reach, and so often communities are left without any option but the river.
We had the privilege to check on 15 of the most recently installed LifePumps – we’ve been monitoring them through the satellite LifePumpLinks, and now got to “turn the handles” ourselves with our partners. The idea of finding water underground in remote areas where people live is much harder than it sounds. We found that some of the wells themselves needed to be redrilled to find sufficient water supply, which is common in the drilling industry. Nevertheless, we found LifePumps that people were very happy with, and even found signs of amazing development in such a short period of time. These LifePumps were only installed between July and October this year, and so that’s less than 6 months for any pump. Despite the short time, we met a widow who built an amazing brick home in Chimumvuri Community using water from the LifePump. We found a mother who started an amazing garden just a stone’s throw from her LifePump in Chiodza community. The widow said she didn’t have a donkey to fetch water from the river 2 km away, so the hope of building a house was out of reach. But with the LifePump, she is getting water one bucket at a time, walking a short distance to her home, and doing incredible work. The mother was growing a large variety of veggies – sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and more that I didn’t recognize. When you see the landscape, you can recognize how dry it is every day during the dry season, which peaks this time of year. It’s a hard life and surviving is a daily struggle. But for people like the mother who can grow “off-season” crops (i.e. when it’s not raining in the dry season), she can feed her family when others are scraping by. I have a really good feeling we’ll see many more gardens in the future in that community. We met a lady in Chaparira Community that said now the women can “sleep peacefully” at night, because before they used to leave at midnight to fetch water. We met kids at a primary school who were so happy to see us and said how much they liked the LifePump over a nearby Bush Pump that was hard to use. So many stories…and the best part is that Karanda is pointing all the glory back to Jesus. There were Bibles distributed in each community along with COVID prevention masks, soap, handwashing stations, and training.
In order to see where people were getting water, we stopped by a popular spot at the river. There were beautiful rock formations but there was a threat of crocodiles, and we were told a child recently drowned there in a deep pool. Our partners from Karanda were saying how when they were kids themselves, they had to get water from the same river and got sick from the river water. So, they would dig a shallow hole in the shoreline sand and scoop water out, which looked clearer than the river water. The problem is that cattle also drink from the river, and there was manure all over. I asked one of the members of Karanda team if that bothered people and he said yes, it “smells like cow”. I couldn’t imagine.
Before this trip my wife reminded me of a passage in Jeremiah 17:7-8 – “blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…he is like a tree planted by water…and does not fear when heat comes…” The LifePump is helping an estimated 20,000 people in rural Zimbabwe by providing safe and sufficient water during the hottest times of year. We have a God-sized vision to reach many more people and we can’t wait to send more LifePumps soon. Thank you for your ongoing commitment and partnership in this life-changing mission.