Monday, November 1, 2010

The Butterfly Effect.

I've never seen the movie "The Butterfly Effect," and I never even knew what it was about. The very first real day in Africa we woke up and did group devotionals. Our leader found a great journal that had great prompts, stories, questions, and tons of journaling space for us to use. The very first day was talking about the Butterfly Effect and how "if a butterfly flaps its wings in England, does that change the weather in San Diego?"

This is basically asking if and how the smallest actions impact the biggest changes in our lives.

I'd never heard of this before (used in that terminology of course I've heard about little actions impacting yada yada yada) and I was absolutely enamored by this subject. To think about the little things that we do, or that happen to us, and making every thing, even the little tiny ones into something great, just blew my mind.

So that first day we drove out to the site. We'd gone to say hello to the kids the night before so this day, it was a Tuesday, was our first real day on the job.

The first thing we did was pray around the perimeter. This was absolutely the best idea I've ever heard of and I was amazed at how it made me feel. We split up into two groups and my group kind of walked around and stopped at "monumental" places and prayed, and every once and a while would stop along the fence. There were 3 of us in my group that had been there before so we also took this time to explain to the new members all the new things and give them little stories about the different areas of the site.

One of the first places we came to was the water tower. When I went last May, the orphanage had to haul water from town. They didn't have a well or a pump or anything and they had no way of getting water on their land, aside from going into town and bringing it back. At the bottom of the orphanage, connected to the land on the other side is this little pond. The water that fills the pond is run off from the bathroom (which is dumped into a hole-in-the-ground-septic-system), from the laundry, and just dirty old ground water.

Last year we built a fence around the property and when we got to the pond area we came across plenty of people using this water. They were filling their water jugs, bathing, or leading their animals to drink. At first I was absolutely amazed that this was being used. I guess it made sense, because it was free water and I'm sure filling up a jug in town costs money. Anyway, when a person would fill up their water jug, they would put a piece of cloth over the opening as a kind of filter system. For grass and leaves and maybe a little dirt, perhaps, but not the dirty, parasitic, bathroom run off water.

It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

The first picture was taken early in the week. If you look close enough you can see how dirty the water really is. Of course it's brown and muddy on the ground but you can see it in his little green bucket.

The second picture was taken after a group of us watched probably 20 people come drink this dirty water. Obviously it was a little late do make any major changes so we simply found some rocks and created a filter system. We put the rocks up the "creek" of water that ran down the hill and then made a tiny pool for the water to run into. That way the water would be a little cleaner and it wouldn't mix with that big nasty pool of dirty water. So, the second girl is actually taking from the little "filtered" pool. And no, it doesn't look any cleaner. I'm sure the only real difference is that the cows weren't drinking out of that side.

So basically, after we left our church set in motion the project to build the orphanage a water tower. Teams came out all through out last year, from the time we left to now when we came back, and dug a well, built a tower, and created a community water system.

I'm really pissed at myself because I didn't get a picture of it and I kept telling myself I needed to. They set up a community fill station where there is a little .....I don't even know what you would call it.....white box water holding thing that has several hoses. Twice a day the guard (everyone has a guard and every guard has a stick) unlocks the gate and fills the water buckets of the neighbors. The well is clean drinking water and I'm pretty sure it's free.

So they went from having to use parasitic pond water to clean, healthy water in less than a year.

And the most amazing part? While we were praying a butterfly landed next to the "white box water holding thingy" and flapped its wings.

This water is touching the lives of so many people. The orphans now have clean drinking water whenever they want. Before, the government would randomly shut off the water. Major holidays, or some times for no real reason whatsoever, there would be no water. Now, the orphanage has control of their own well so they don't have to abide by the city water program. They also can give clean, fresh water to people around them and reach out to the community.

Absolutely amazing.

A few days into the trip I took a trek down to the water hole to get a picture of it this year. And look what I found...

 It's a butterfly!!! If you can't see it... look in the middle of the right hand side. It's resting on that piece of wood next to the piece of grass.

Butterflies were seriously everywhere this week, but these were my two main moments.

 This is the water pond now. The cows that were grazing in this field were gone so the grass is very overgrown. But look at how dried up and unused the water is. I guess it should be the opposite, since no one is using it, but it's not. It's drying up and people are rarely using this water. We did come across one lady filling a jug down here and we asked her why she didn't use the clean water. She said she was just getting this water for laundry and to water her crops. She uses the clean water to cook and drink and couldn't stop thanking us.

And here's a picture of the water tower. Our project was to make it into a building so we added the cinder block walls and some steps and a second floor (cinder blocks came later as well, this is like day 3 or 4) and a set of stairs up to the second floor. They plan on putting a library in the lower level and perhaps an apartment or classroom on the second level. When we left the entire first floor was finished and some team members built book cases and shelves for the library. The second floor was about 2/3 of the way done so the orphanage and SDA people we left will have to make sure that gets finished.

This is the longest blog post ever. And I better stop now because I could go on and on and on. But seriously, it is so amazing to watch how the little things people have done, have been multiplied and have touched the lives of so many people.

Also, you can see this water tower from the town (Gouder) up the road. It's like a beacon of light, or clean water, for a lot of people.


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