Fiona Hatton, ChildFund’s Development Manager, just returned from a trip to visit projects in Kenya and Zambia. Here she shares her experience of doing an impromptu opening ceremony for a water project.
On my recent trips to Zambia & Kenya, I had to quickly learn the steps needed to officially open a borehole. I would like to share these steps with you. If you ever have the opportunity to visit these stunning countries, be aware you may be called upon, with little notice or guidance, to open any number of wonderful ChildFund projects…
During the initial speeches, you will have little idea of what is being said. Every now and then people clap. Suddenly you hear your name and the entire gathered community looks at you.
You thank everyone for welcoming you to their community (making sure to thank the children for their lovely singing and posters). Say that you are honoured to open this borehole on behalf of ChildFund New Zealand and all the generous Kiwis who support us.
You pull back the curtains (note: pull gently or the nail comes out of the wall and you must start again). It appears you have said the right things as one of the local leaders’ approaches and wraps you in a beautiful cloth.
It becomes clear that another speech is expected. You must think quickly.
You have to test the pump. You are duly relieved when sparkling, clean water flows out.
The last step is the best one of all. You get to talk to the many people who have benefited from the project.
Like Grace (pictured), who is 76 years old and looks after 7 of her grandchildren. She used to walk an 8km round trip to collect dirty river water and said it made her tired, her back hurt badly, that it took up much of the children’s time and they were often sick.
Grace now walks for a couple of minutes (you can see her hut from the borehole), says the children no longer get tummy bugs, they spend more time at school and she has managed to start a vegetable garden (you can see a bit of it in the background) which helps to provide the children with at least one meal per day.
Grace wants to say thank you for caring about her grandchildren and gives you a kiss on the forehead. You feel very happy to be representing ChildFund.
For more information about the work the ChildFund does in Kenya and Zambia, please visit our website.