Last Saturday, July 5th, we (local community members, school staff, Katie Wilkerson and myself) installed a tower for a water tank that will used to store enough water for cooking and hopefully a bath or two per week per student.
The installation was very much a community effort. It was nice working up a sweat as we chiseled and dug our way through predominantly rocky soil (reminded me of Stanly County). I can only hope my eyes didn’t fail me; that is all we had to ensure the tower was level (no, for you smart guys reading this, we didn’t even have a glass of water or string and washer with which to improvise).
After the installation of the tower we shared a mid-afternoon lunch and coffee ceremony inside the school house. Coffee ceremonies are a show of appreciation here in Ethiopia, and Saturday was my first. I must say, I couldn’t have experienced it in better company. The regular afternoon rains pounded the tin roof as we enjoyed freshly ground coffee and I practiced my Amharic.
Hopefully, the installation of the water tank will allow each of the 84 students to bathe at least once a week. As with all things, the tough part will be managing the process (ensuring a strict schedule is followed, that towels and soap are readily available and that the children take hygiene seriously).
Many thanks to Jonathan Page, a fellow Cherokee Volunteer who raised most of the money for the water tank and plumbing at Kechene.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia