The well(ness) project

A well is built in the village of Tsimihevo, Madagascar, improving the standard of living for the whole community.

They had tried before.

Their parents had tried, their grandparents had tried, everyone had tried, all the way back to when the Tandroy people first settled in the area. Water had never been found in Tsimihevo, Madagascar.

Located in the Androy region, an area known for its dryness and droughts, the village of Tsimihevo receives an average rainfall of 400mm a year, making life difficult for its inhabitants. People are unable to wash themselves and often develop rashes across their skin from the constant presence of dirt and dust. Unwashed food contributes to viruses that spread rapidly through the village, particularly affecting the young and old.

About once a week a water cart pulled by zebus (cows) passes through. The cost of 20 litres of water is 400 ariary ($0.15 USD), which to many in the world is the change found between the couch cushions on any given day, but to this community it is precious money. The only other option is to walk six kilometres down a sandy road to the nearest well, pay 200 ariary ($0.07 USD) for 20 litres of water, and carry it back.

Since mid-2013 OM Madagascar has had a team in Ambovombe, the capital of the Androy region. They connected with the Assembly of God Church, where the pastor told them about a church that had recently been started in the nearby village of Tsimihevo, and invited them to participate in an outreach there.

After arriving in the village the team asked the locals what they needed most in their community. The answer: water.

Around this same time, a couple were married in Uzbekistan. The newlyweds wanted to bless others with the money they had received as a wedding gift and decided to finance the digging of a well in Tsimihevo, after learning about OM Madagascar and the work being done in the Androy region through friends.

A local business was contracted at the recommendation of the pastor, an agreement drawn up, a place for the well chosen, and the digging began.

One metre down the three workers hit a large stone. They worried about the well walls collapsing if they took out the stone, but carefully broke it up and removed it anyway. The well remained intact, and no further problems were encountered.

When the team first declared their intention to build a well in the village, a few local people scoffed at the idea, remembering the attempts and failures of the years past. So confident that water could not be found, they said they would attend church if the well was successful.

On 1 November 2014, water appeared 25 metres below the surface.

The project has provided an opportunity to show the village and surrounding area that God is real, answers prayers, and cares for His people. The local church especially has been encouraged as they see God at work in their community.

Next, the well walls will be bricked, and a structure built over the opening. Villagers have promised to contribute the needed materials for this final step.

In about a month the well will be completed and open for business. The price of the water has not yet been determined, but will be less than the other options. The profits will be used to manage and maintain the well with a long-term goal of building a second one, as well as financing local missionaries.

Step-by-step the OM team is working with a committee formed of local leaders and church members to manage the well properly, establish good business practices, and emphasise the importance of saving money.

After training the committee, they in turn will train and mobilise the community to care for the project.

The close proximity and the low price of water will raise the standard of living in the village, improving the health conditions and agriculture.

Please pray that the locals will stand by their word and start going to the local church. Pray that the well will be a lasting reminder of God's provision and goodness.

 

By Rebecca Rempel