There aren’t many qualities that are true of all life on Earth, but the need for water is one of them. It’s in all living things, whether they live at the bottom of the ocean or the driest desert. Water made life possible on Earth. A whopping 96.5 percent of water on Earth is in our oceans, covering 71 percent of the surface of our planet. At any given time, about 0.001 percent is floating above us in the atmosphere. If all of that water fell as rain at once, the whole planet would get about 1 inch of rain. Over 68 percent of Earth’s freshwater is locked up in ice and glaciers, and another 30 percent is in groundwater. A newborn baby is 78 percent water. Adults are 55-60 percent water. Water is involved in just about everything our body does. It’s a big part of the blood that brings nutrients to all our cells. We use it to get rid of waste. It helps us regulate our body temperature. It acts as a shock absorber for our brain and spinal cord. We are very dependent on water. Three days, just three days is how long someone can survive without water. In nature we live by the rule of three, three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. As you can see, second only to air water is the very essence of life here on our little blue planet and we have an amazing update when it comes to water.
For those of you who have been following with us in this incredible journey just two months ago we purchased a piece of land and began the process of drilling a borehole to give Ubuntu and the surrounding community water. Thankfully we found water and then the next step began. We needed to bring the water from the borehole all the way to Ubuntu land. This is where our focus has been since we found water last month planning and executing exactly how we will bring the water to the site. The digging was quite the task and it took us well over two weeks to dig by hand exactly where the pipes would be laid.
The goal that was set forth by the Directors was for there to be access to water at the site by October first so it was very important that we kept on schedule. That meant from the very start we had about 80 casual workers who would come day to day help us with the digging. The goal was to cover a kilometer or just over a kilometer a day to keep on track with the goal set forth. As we have discussed in previous newsletters, access to water here in Maai Mahiu and surrounding areas is a privilege and not a right. Meaning that a lot of people have motivation to tamper with the pipes. Those who live in Maai Mahiu and have access to water from the springs in the mountains know the trouble that can be involved in piping water for that distance. From the police breaking your pipes to ask for protection or under the counter bribes to locals trying to steal water without having to pay for it. It becomes challenging and quite frustrating. To combat this when we were digging our trench we ensure that it was 3 feet deep and a foot wide this discourages potential sabotage and theft of the water as it becomes quite the task to dig up the pipe and steal or damage it. For areas that had more rocks and made that impossible we ensured to cover it with concrete. It is important to us that no one tampers with the water mid transit so we can assure the quality of the water when it reaches our site. For instance there have been reports of styrofoam being put inside pipes to stop the waterflow and allow it to divert the water down stream. Styrofoam not only has chemicals such as benzene and styrene it also does not break down or get absorbed when ingested creating significant danger for those who ingest it. So for the safety of our kids and all of those who we will supply in the future we had to ensure we took every measure possible to protect our water.
We were able to finish the digging on Saturday the 30th of September and in the mid afternoon we were able to splash in our own water on our own site. You cannot imagine the sheer joy when the water was turned on and ears of dreaming became a reality. In typical Ubuntu fashion it is not over until there has been a thanksgiving. After reaching the site the Foundation team set up a small get together where all the workers who helped us dig the trenches and some members of the staff got together for a celebration. There was praise and worship, prayers and finally a big supper for all the workers because we knew it was not an easy task. For those who have visited Maai Mahiu you can imagine digging a 3 foot trench in the sun and dust, so it was important for us to appreciate all their efforts. As part of the community we felt that it was important to get all involved as this is not just a project for us, but the community as a whole. This celebration made us realize that to not involve our parents and other members of staff would be a mistake as this was not only our achievement, but the achievement of everyone who is part of our Family.
So the following Friday after we had a small party that this time involved all members of staff and some parents as well. e had a small service where there was a sermon as well as praise and worship and after that we got to hear speeches from the Heads of Departments for the different organizations and parents as well. The highlight of the day was not even the beautiful cake that was to come, but when Collins spoke and expressed his desire for Ubuntu to make a swimming pool so he and his friends can swim on the grounds. It was a wholesome moment that reminded us of all the possibilities that are now at our geet.
With the reserve tank already ready we knew exactly where the water would be needed and used. The three main areas we wish to see the water used in are the Café garden, the CWC (Children Wellness Center) and in the Foundation Garden. Due to climate change, the rainy season and dry season have become very unpredictable and a rainy season that should last months only lasts weeks. In addition to that Maai Mahiu falls in the rain shadow of the Rift Valley that makes farming next to impossible for large parts of the year. This however is no longer our reality. Our gardens will have a constant stream of fresh water which will allow us to farm year round. Especially with our emphasis on sustainable farming such as organic farming we are sure we can stretch the water we have quite a long way. Finally our last two initial uses will be for our building here at Ubuntu. For too long we have relied on water that's not our own and the price and inconsistency of the supply made it a stressful endeavor. So what this has allowed us to do is to rethink how we view daily operations here at Ubuntu when it comes to water usage. For example we love to keep our compound very green, but due to the scarcity of water it seemed almost an insult to pour water on grass when many are going without. However this will no longer be the case and we will be able to keep our compound green not only for the visual, but for the therapeutic nature of walking into an oasis after battling the dust here in Maai Mahiu.
This is just one of the few examples and we will continue to update you on how we utilize this blessing. We once again would love to thank you for your continued support that has allowed us to get to this moment. We hope through these newsletters you see just the kind of impact you are able to make here. THANK YOU!