March 22 was World Water Day. About one out of ten people in the world still lacks access to an improved water source. However, we are rejoicing that the people of Mlenga, Tanzania, are no longer among them! Thanks to a cooperative effort between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, St. Peter’s Blackberry Lutheran Church in cooperation with the Northwestern Ohio Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s World Hunger Fund there is now a fully-functioning well with solar pump and 15,000 liter (4,000 gallon) concrete storage tank, which provides plenty of clean water to this rural community in the Dodoma Diocese of central Tanzania. The region around Mlenga is very dry and lacks reliable sources of drinking water. Prior to the completion of this project, people had to walk 3 miles each way to fetch water using donkeys. The project was managed by Naftal Mandi and Stuart Smith of Ground+Water Tanzania.
This project was dedicated last month. Bishop Marcus Lohrmann of the Northwestern Ohio Synod of the ELCA and his wife Heidi were in attendance. We lift up this project as an example of what can be done when people from different places and backgrounds come together to find solutions to water problems.
Photo Caption: Hudson Kiwia and others filling plastic jerry cans with clean water at the newly completed well in Mlenga, Tanzania. In the background there is a house for the well attendant with a control room and business office. The edge of the solar panel array (twelve 250-watt panels) can be seen on top of the building.
Joe and Deborah are missionaries in Arusha, Tanzania, where they are the East Africa Regional Representatives for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and work in Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda. Their daughter, Christa, is in Tanzania with them taking a gap year between high school and university.