VILLAGE WOMEN CELEBRATE THE GIFT OF LIFE ALONGSIDE DAR ES SALAAM’S WHO IS WHO
(Posted 21st May 2016)
(Maryvonne Pool with Maua, the woman whose plight for water triggered it all off)
Water in Africa, especially rural Africa, remains the gift of life and the absence of clean, potable water often spells doom when it comes to health, besides the often endless treks by women and children – one hardly ever sees menfolk carry jerry cans or buckets of water on their heads – to fetch the commodity from distant places. Those water sources are often shared with domestic animals, are polluted from whatever is in the water upstream or has seeped into shallow wells and water holes.
Tourists who witness, while on safari or traversing the region by car, such long columns of people carrying water, are regularly astonished to hear such stories and not only learn about the poor quality of the water these women schlepp home but the extraordinary amount of time wasted to go as often as four times for several kilometres for a 20 litre bucket of the precious liquid.
Maryvonne Pool, Seychelles Consul to Tanzania and an accomplished business woman in her own right, came face to face with this stark reality over a decade ago, when she met Maua who was scooping up water from the roadside. This chance meeting changed the lives of both women, dramatically, and it is there where the story of ‘The Village Heart‘ started.
A decade later and dozens of wells dug in the Tanzanian district of Mkuranga have village after village benefitted from the vision Maryvonne turned into reality through the African Reflections Foundation, a not for profit organization with support from the good people of the United States and Canada, who continue to raise funds. These funds it is understood are channeled 100 percent into projects, such as digging the wells and installing solar pumping equipment and water storage tanks from where villagers can draw clean water fit to drink.
(A happy Maryvonne Pool addressing the hundreds of invited guests who came for her book launch)
‘Wolf, you need to see the faces of these people when the water gushes out of the drill hole. You need to see the relief from the woman when they draw their first bucket of clean water very close to their homes. They suddenly are spared to walk for miles and miles often several times a day, only to find poor water quality from which people easily fall sick. Tonight it is all about them, not about me, not about you or the audience. I want to inspire others to help us help the Tanzanian rural population. Their physical well being starts with clean water, making a decent living starts with having water nearby. They use it for consumption at home, to water their livestock and even to do small scale irrigating for their little gardens and shambas [Shamba is a Kiswahili word for a small scale farm]’ did Maryvonne Pool confide in me before the function at the Dar es Salaam Serena kicked off.
During the launch of the book were several key individuals recognized, among them Mrs. Jean Dobbs, CEO of the African Reflections Foundation in the United States, who came all the way from Albany / New York. So was Kevin Bailey, the founder of ‘The Sky Is Not Limited‘ who introduced his solar technology to the project and has been a steadfast supporter of ARF’s work in rural Tanzania.
(A solar water pump, reliable, easy to maintain and made for a long lifespan)
Guest of Honour for the evening was the Member of Parliament of the area, Hon. Abdallah Ulega and he was joined on stage, after completing his laudatio of ARF and of Maryvonne, by key members of the District Administration and of course by over a dozen women who had traveled from Mkuranga to Dar es Salaam to help ARF celebrate.
And cause for celebration it was as, according to Hon. Ulega, water born diseases and illnesses caused by poor water quality are now a thing of the past. He also noted that the productivity of the beneficiary villages has tremendously improved as the time saved by the women is now used to grow both food and cash crops, improving family health and raising income levels to beyond mere subsistence.
(Hon. Ulega with his constituents)
It was a night of celebrating the book launch but even more celebrating the gift of life given to the people of Mkuranga District in Tanzania, a gift which Maryvonne Pool intends to spread even further as she aims for 1.000 wells to be completed and handed over, her own contribution to making life in rural Tanzania more bearable.
The Punjani Foundation’s Gulam Punjani made an impromptu donation of 5.000 US Dollars to ARF and two picture auctions raised 1.7 million Tanzania Shillings and 1.55 million Tanzania Shillings respectively, boosting the ability of the African Reflections Foundation to provide yet more wells to more people.
From this correspondent, the team at eTN – notably mentioned by Maryvonne for the regular publicity not just for her projects but also for her native Seychelles – and no doubt from all our readers, her well wishers and corporate sponsors like Serena Hotels and Bon Voyage Travel, all the best for future fund raising as she brings the gift of life to those in greatest need.
For added information click on http://www.africanreflectionsfoundation.net/ or visit https://www.facebook.com/African-Reflections-Foundation-105876136153694/