Entry, 23rd March 2017 – Village Toufitri Connection
All the village residents were out, finally the last steps to fully installing and connecting their houses to the water were to be completed within few hours. They had bought and brought the meters as per our agreement. They have been more than patients, it has taken us years to come to this point. From getting all the necessary clearance, securing all the funds, but especially from getting all the heavy machinery to work in such a harsh environment. Hard rocks, rough mountain sides, are a nightmare for digging. It has taken us more than 3 months to complete the entire process of preparing the passage for the pipes, laying the pipes, covering them and having them connected. The distance is a simple 3000 linear meters.
Each day comes with the promise that this will be completed, but something unexpected happens, the machine breaks down, the imponderables of working with equipment that is old in a very demanding environment. A missing piece or tool that halts the work and we have to take a long trip to town to see if we find it, by the time we return, the workers have left. Actually, this worker leaving for good was a positive step, he was sarcastic all the time and still doubting that there was any fog-water to be collected. Incredulous, he refused to believe that this was actually happening and that the water had transformed the lives of the communities with access to it. That he was replaced by a family-member of one of the beneficiary-villages, was in itself a success; this man brought force and commitment to his work.
So this last village, everyone is out and they are witnessing just the last step, like the cutting of a ribbon to celebrate the promise of something new. One of the residents and his family were, however, not among the celebrating group; their house was at the farthest point of the village and they were, in all effect, marginalized because they were considered to be the poorest of the village. The father being blind, the two daughters and an aging mother fared however much they could in these dire conditions. While the rest of the village was ready to welcome flowing water after they had installed their newly bought meters, this family had no meter and no way of purchasing one. They were occupying all the margins of this village. I could not stand such injustice and that they did not share the joy of welcoming finally water in their household as the rest did. This situation warrants to take different decisions and while respecting the agreements between the NGO and the Beneficiaries, this time I myself stopped the work, and left to town. I bought a new meter and came back the next day to launch the work from the house of the poor, blind man… From being at the margin, he became for me, the dignified starting and initial point, the one from where we begin the counting. And this story continues to inform my work and my commitment to working and being morally responsible for one’s actions. It is not about finishing a day’s work, but it is about changing in a positive way the life of another person.
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