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La Chica and Altapesi Village

February 12, 2010

It was with great anticipation that La Chica attended the first meeting for the Lukumahi  Water Project involving the recipient sub-village of Altapesi.  Olengunin, the village chairman (and also her host while her own boma is being built) called the meeting to discuss the two water projects La Chica has been working on for the Masai.  Simon, the water engineer, drove to Longido from Arusha, bringing with him Matt, an American volunteer based in Arusha, Matt’s father Bill, who works for one of America’s biggest water companies and who is looking for a few projects to support, and Hannah, an English volunteer with the Aussie NGO Food Water Shelter.  Around 80 Masai men and women attended the meeting, which provided a forum for questions and answers about the Lukumahi water project, and the next steps including setting up a Lukumahi Water Committee with equal representation of men and women.  A community supervisor was appointed, whose job it is to galvanise volunteers when they are needed. 

True to the usual African experience, the meeting started nearly two hours after the scheduled start time, and lasted for a couple of hours.  It was held under the shade of an Acacia tree.  With great ceremony the meeting was opened and the guests welcomed.  The meeting was translated between English, Swahili and Masai to ensure all the attendees understood.  La Chica got goosebumps when one of the elderly Masai women stood up and said that water is a women’s issue.  She had to sit on her hands to restrain herself from punching her fist in the air and screaming YEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is why La Chica is doing the project – to assist the women in their daily challenge to obtain enough water for their families and livestock, and to provide easier access to water so the young boys who look after the cows and goats can go to school instead of walking their animals long distances in search of water. 

After the meeting La Chica and the other guests were treated to a picnic lunch of rice, sautéed cabbage with onion and tomato, and for the meat eaters, goat.  The women then sang and wriggled their shoulders and necklaces as only the Masai know how. 

La Chica is now feeling the reality of providing water to over 1,200 people in Altapesi, and is determined to raise the initial $3,000 required to take make the topography survey and drawings to prepare for the project commencement.

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One Comment
  1. Laura permalink

    Amazing …..

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