The northern and western part of Tanzania constitute an ecclesiastical territory which is under the jurisdiction of the H. Metropolis of Mwanza, and covers a geographical area of approximately 430,000 square kilometers, that is, three times more than Greece. In this part of the country there are some water resources, such as Lakes Victoria, Malawi and Rukwa as well as the Rivers Kagera, Ngono, Mara, Simiyu and others. This water may not be absolutely clean, but at least the villages or cities adjacent to these resources have access to water, whether it be easy or not. The big problem though lies with those areas that are far from natural water resources and which, due to climate change, which has also affected the African continent, suffer from drought.
There, the lack of water is complete, with whatever consequences this brings to the lives of the people. The only consolation and not a solution to the problem is the occasional rains that fill up some puddles, from which people draw dirty water, contaminated with parasites and microbes. When it does not rain at all, the situation becomes tragic. Thus, the life of the people in the mainland unfolds in this suffering. Thirst, dirt, illness, death make up the scene of this deadlock. It is an open and throbbing wound that shatters the hearts and shakes the consciences of all of us.
It was in this context that the program for the supply of clean drinking water for the H. Metropolis of Mwanza began three years ago. With the help of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox parish in Los Angeles, USA, we have acquired not only a new drilling rig but also other modern machinery and equipment. The goal was to provide solutions to this serious problem, which is affecting the people of Tanzania. The program staff consists of 6 young people, trained for 2 months for this purpose. We are seeking two more people to be able to be trained at a higher level.
If there is a qualified staff, the machine can drill 24 wells per year. We have been licensed by the state of Tanzania to operate the drilling rig all over the country and we are working with the Ministry of Water for the laboratory testing of the water quality of the wells that are being drilled. These are then recorded in the state’s general list of wells.
We have a sincere desire to offer dynamically as regards well- drilling. However, difficulties and challenges will always arise. For example, we need more complete staff- training, good planning, continuous funding, good roads for easier access to villages and raising awareness of the communities where the works are done. All this means good cooperation with all public authorities and bodies. It is imperative that the state make efforts to open roads in areas where access is impossible. All these as well as other factors affect the cost of a well.
Despite all the difficulties, we want to give the joy of presence of clean drinking water to as many areas as possible. In this way, we are given the chance to apply the command of love to the least of our brothers, and furthermore, we give testimony and the seal of the Orthodox Church of Christ, Who is interested in every single person, and Who approaches each one of them in a redeeming way, starting from their most tangible and urgent needs.
During these 3 years, 30 wells have already been drilled, which can serve approximately the needs of 100,000 inhabitants. It will be good for our poor brothers if we manage to continue this God-pleasing work. The machinery exists and can do this job, and we want to relieve these long-suffering people. We are really grateful to those who help us and those with whom we work together. We particularly appreciate the support coming from St. Paul’s parish in Los Angeles, the state of Tanzania, the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and others. We hope to overcome the challenges that arise through understanding, patience and cooperation. Water is essential to life, let alone clean drinking water. May God make us worthy to offer it to those who have so much need of it.
† Ieronymos of Mwanza