Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bringing Water to Naphari


Last year we received some generous donations that enabled us to drill a deep well at our farm in Naphari. Though the farm is only a 15 minute drive from the orphanage, it feels like it could be in a different century. The people living in the area have no electricity, no water source, and mostly live the same way their ancestors would have lived hundreds of years ago.

Surviving life in "the bush" requires outrageously hard work and physical strength. Life expectancy is low. Women and children spend a large portion of their day walking many miles to get water, which they carry home on their heads and then ration carefully for drinking, bathing, cooking, dishes, and laundry. It's heavy work and hard on the body, and there is never a day off. Families have no time left to improve their lives, and many kids don't get a chance to go to school when so much time, energy, and health is used every day just to get enough water to stay alive.

We acquired a piece of land here in Naphari a few years ago and immediately began planting crops and fruit trees for the orphanage. Every morning the staff and kids would jump in the orphanage truck and drive to the farm. They would spend the day clearing bush, catching snakes, planting trees, and getting to know the people living around the farm who were eager to help with work. We would pay them in fish because money is useless in this area, and there are (obviously) no fish around!

As soon as the dry season came we were in trouble. We tried hauling water in, and we even hired a spectacular tractor-like vehicle to come dig a huge hole in the ground for a pond. But everything dried up and our crops and trees failed miserably. We knew we could not grow food, build anything, or help the local community without first bringing a water source.

We are ecstatic every time donations come in that make it possible for us to do something helpful for the orphanage and the families we serve. But there are no words to express how life-changing this well is for people in the Naphari community.

The people of Naphari are sweet-natured, friendly, hospitable, hard-working, and have a hilarious sense of humor. They have never known a time when they have not been fighting for survival. When we appeared out of nowhere in their community for the first time they welcomed us and helped us get the land and prepare it to grow food. We told them we wanted to bring a well. But the day this actually happened - I don't think anybody in the community could even believe it.

Don't let the serious expressions on the faces in the pictures deceive you when you don't see huge smiles. Imagine living a simple life in the bush and then suddenly people from the city who you don't even know appear with equipment, drill a well, come back and celebrate with you, and then leave. You would hardly even know if it's safe to smile because you wouldn't want to expect something so beyond all you've ever known at the risk of getting your hopes up and then being let down. Victor always says the magnificent smiles, laughter, and expressions of joy overflow as soon as the one giving the gift has gone.

Huge thanks to you, our supporters, who constantly bring good news, joy, and life-changing gifts to the children and families we work with in Mozambique. We can't believe we get to be the ones delivering your generosity to the people who are so greatly affected by it. You are making a huge difference in lives here.

  The well-drilling machine. Several weeks before this day we asked men in the village to clear a path through the trees big enough for a huge truck to come through. They trusted that something big would really happen and used their machetes to clear huge trees that would have kept the machines out.

Carlitos and Osvaldo helping with the last part of the well construction. This pipe is 40 meters deep.

The community gathers for the dedication of the well. Victor talks about the living water.

Kids in the community provide music with traditional drums made from animal skins and wood.

Traditional dance attire is made from things in the jungle and worn for special celebrations.

Traditional Macua dancing.

A man from the community dances.

Our Gil on the drums.

Felix (guitar), Manuel (keyboard), and Gil (drums) play while Stela, Ofeita, and Rosa sing and dance with people from the community.

Victor, Ezequiel, Izaque, Calton, and Carlos dancing Macua style.

They are loving it.

Rosa, Ofeita, and Estela singing.

More good drumming.

Everybody getting into it.

Cake for the kids in the village.

Everybody gathers at the new well.

The first bucket gets filled with water.

Thanking God for the well.

Over the last decade Nampula City has grown up around the orphanage and we are used to being around "city people" now. In contrast, the people in Naphari are still untouched by the modern world in many ways. There are problems in the community, among the worst being underage marriage and pregnancy, alcoholism (from scary home-made brews), and witchcraft. But it seems like the people in Naphari also have something, as a community, that is rare to find this day and age. They have an open heart. These people have not "rejected" anything yet. They are not "set in their ways." They are not hopeless, skeptical, or rejecting. They are still "open." I believe they are open to God, and every time I go there I imagine what it will be like when the first church comes to the community.

Please pray for the people of Naphari and please pray that as we get more involved with them, we will be good stewards of the gospel.

Again, an enormous thank you to all who have supported us in this work. We hope you know what an enormous impact you are making here!

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
John 4:10