Saturday, August 18, 2012

Clean Water Rising!

Isn't it great when a million miles away (the Congo feels a million miles away) work is being done by local labor to bring desperately needed fresh water to a village due in large part to the generosity of people in Round Rock, in Texas, and several other states.

The Lodja Mission of the United Methodist Church in Central Congo had a water system in use for 20 years from the mid-1950's until 1976. At that time, unusual rains and seepage from the hillside caused the dam to give way and the system was no longer functional. 

Villagers (mostly women and children) are forced to get their water from the valley almost a half a mile away and haul it up a steep hill back to the village.

In 2009 drops of grace partnered with Appointment Congo to rebuild the dam and water system to a village and mission station near Lodja in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Kip and I visited Paul and Marty Law in 2009 at the mission station in Lodja and we were blessed to come back with a sense of what this project would ultimately be.  We reported that at the inaugural Ripple Effect Banquet and raised enough money to fund the project.

That was three years ago and although it has taken longer than anyone anticipated, the dam is finally nearing completion!  

This is a recent update from Paul:
"We finally got down to the drain level and by building a form around it and pumping the water that was coming in, we managed to pour a foundation to the monk that envelops the original drain. We pounded gravel down around the original drain to try to create a fairly solid base upon which to pour the foundation. We made it 2 meters x 2 meters and when we got it up over the original structure about 4 inches we placed the form for the inside of the chimney on top over the opening below. You can see in the pictures how much earth we had to move to do all this.

The second pour was easier and brought us up another 4 1/2 feet. I'm sorry that I didn't get any pictures of that process, but I did of the 3rd pour where we began to leave an opening on the upriver side that will allow the water to flow into the monk and drain out through the dam. This opening will also allow us to raise and lower the water level as we wish to. The top of the monk is about 15 inches above the regular overflow up by the feed boxes to the ram.

We are now ready to begin refilling the dam around the monk and downstream. Once the monk has set up enough we will divert the water into the monk and remove the temporary plastic pipe that has been carrying the stream through the dam. Once this out of the way, we can refill in earnest and complete the dam entirely.

We will then rebuild the overflow and take the water up to operational level. At that point we will be ready to install the ram and start laying pipe up to the tower on the station.
 Keep us in your prayers and I'll keep you posted as the drama unfolds."


See how easy that is?     The cool thing is that this is being done with local Congolese labor which supports the local economy.  And....

Ultimately the pond will be a beautiful setting providing bring clean fresh water to thousands of people for generations to come.

It would not have happened but for Paul and Marty Law, Appointment Congo, and the generous support from the friends of drops of grace

It's getting close to completion and hopefully water will be flowing in the next few months. 

Want to hear and see more?  The Ripple Effect Banquet will be held on September 14 we will be talking about it and showing more pictures.

You will also hear about the phenomenal year drops of grace has had in Joplin Mo, Bastrop, and  two awesome  teams to Malawi.

 God Bless you all and we will see you at the Ripple. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Little Wonders...


Chief Theresa Malila - Somebody Cares-Malawi

     During our first team’s visit to Malawi, Chief Theresa, Executive Director and Founder of Somebody Cares-Malawi, took the drops of grace   medical team to visit at the local hospital.  They met with the Head Mistress and gave T-shirts & blankets along with a “cutie baby” to the babies recently born.  As they were there, a beautiful little girl was born.  While Chief Theresa chatted with the new Mom she discovered there was no money for diapers, blankets, or clothes. Happily this precious little wonder was gifted with a new blanket; baby t-shirt, and a cutie baby.  As Chief Theresa cuddled & cooed with the baby, she dressed her, wrapped her in warm blankets and smiled with the new momma. Thanks to a Chief’s heart for her people, and the generous donations provided by St. David's North Austin Medical Center and various volunteers who made the precious Cutie Babies, a complete stranger was shown tremendous love.  This is just one story of many.  This is Somebody Cares, and we are blessed to go alongside them. 

…. It’s the heart that matters in the end.

    Peace & Grace,
    Diane Bouchard (VP International Operations)