A Sweet Story

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Mar 11, 2008

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Where I stayed
In a bus, somewhere in Namibia

Flag of Namibia  ,
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Be careful how you try to help" is the lesson I understood from this story.  You see, our guide to our African journey Johan, had many stories and all of them were either thought provoking or very humourous.  This one, I will cherish.
It seems that in a village in Namibia, like many villages in Africa, a group of women would trek close to 20 km a day back and forth to fetch the daily intake of fresh and clean water. (Yes, this is beginning to sound like one of my father's stories of his youth when he had to "walk" 10 KM to school every morning in the deep snow with one boot, uphill....). 
For many Africans, walking long distances is part of a daily routine.  But one day, a very kind and generous group of Canadian engineers found out about the hardship endured by women of a particular village who had to walk so far for a life's necessity...clean water.  The engineers traveled a far distance to build the village a brand new well.

After a few months of the well having been put to good use, the engineers received  a message explaining that the well had been "broken".  The crew of engineers quickly came to the village's rescue to fix any damage.

Later on, another message was sent to the engineers who could not understand what was going on.  This little charade did not have to last too long for the engineers to figure out that the well was being sabotaged.  Who could do such a thing?

The answer was very simple for the women but not so obvious for the kind hearted helpers.  Walking the 20 or so KM to the water source for the women of the village was a precious time of day. They could finally have time to themselves.  They could meet up with women from other villages to exchange greetings and stories.  It was the "conversation at the water cooler" time to which they looked forward every day.  The women were destroying the well.
In many parts of Africa, time is not measured.  It is daylight, or starlight.  It is time to eat, talk, learn or breath.  What a lesson to learn.
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