Dave Schroeder and Allan Klotsche are two remarkable men who decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro one year, and in the process, saw and responded to the needs of a nearby village with a horrible water problem. The fact that they saw the problem is not so unusual…the problems are everywhere. The fact that they responded, and have continued that commitment throughout this project make them heroes in our book! We are honored to have been even a small part of this project, and look forward to continuing to work with Summit4Water.
Shared with ETI, by Dave Schroeder….
Returning to Africa
Al Klotsche and I had the pleasure of returning to the Ndatu Village in Tanzania with our extended families last week. In just seven days, we were able to celebrate the considerable progress made on the water system, lay out plans for the remaining work and have a permanent water committee seated by the village. The new committee will take responsibility for putting in processes and procedures ensuring that the system is maintained well in to the future. In addition to the work on the water project, we spent four days in the middle of absolutely some of the most beautiful scenery on earth; the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti plains.
Day one was spent with Bertha Peter guiding us on a walk along the entire water line from the source on the Karum Coffee Estate to the school. Two weeks ago, the water line was fully connected from the source to the final destination at the Uraki Schools. Water is now running through the distribution points in the schoolyards! The quality of the intake structure, the 135,000-liter storage reservoir, the piping itself and the distribution structures at the school all looked solid and thoughtfully designed. The only changes being contemplated are to bury the PVC pipe a little deeper in some spots to make sure it is safe from vehicle traffic and vandalism. All along the 7km walk, we were joined by many of the school kids that will benefit from the clean water. The looks of appreciation on the faces of the children and villagers will be indelibly etched in our memories. The Tanzanian representative from Empower Tanzania even traveled 100 km. from his home to walk the line with us and to extend an offer to help in any way needed.
Day two was one of celebration. Over 1000 students, parents, teachers and other village and district dignitaries greeted us at the primary school. We were then treated to a wonderful celebration put on by children from the primary and secondary schools, which included songs, dances and chants of gratitude. We were all presented with beautiful Masai robes. Al and I were even made chiefs of the Meru Tribe, a meaningful honor.
While the party continued outside, Al and I met with the old water council to lay out expectations for the future. The most important thing on the agenda was communicating the absolute need for a competent, active water committee that would ensure the future sustainability of the project. We asked that this council be elected by the time we were back from safari in order to meet in person with the new members before departing on Sunday. Finally it was back to the venerable Mt. Meru Game Lodge for a great African dinner and some rest before our early morning departure.
Days three through seven were filled with mile after mile of stunning scenery, majestic animals and beautiful birds (except maybe the vultures.) We traveled up the Rift Valley from Lake Manyara, around the Ngorongoro Crater and out on to the Serengeti Grasslands. I made 74 entries in my birds and animal notebook and I’m sure I missed many more. The list included lions, rhinos, hippos, leopards, cheetahs, crocs, elephants, African buffalos, flamingos, giraffes and more.
We were really fortunate to have Ray, Daude and Lema as our Serengeti Pride Safari guides. All had uncanny instincts regarding where the animals might be at any particular time. For the entire four days, we were unable to stump them as each named all of the animals, birds and plant life. Wow! Two nights sleeping in a tent camp just added to the experience of truly being out with the animals in their natural habitat. Yes that was a hyena howling in the distance!
On day eight we drove back to Ndatu Village to meet with the newly elected water committee. We were pleased that the village had elected very capable and dedicated members to the committee and made Mama Anna, an excellent district lawyer as the chairwoman. Lema Peter was elected vice-chairman. Mama Anna had already called a meeting earlier in the week. The group already had a charter, a good grasp on the work they needed to do and a plan to start getting it done. With a renewed sense of confidence, we committed to the funding necessary to complete the distribution sites in the village and for an additional branch supplying a neighborhood near the main line.
While we were at the school, we were pleased to host three members of the Bangalore Mountaineering Club who had just come off a successful trip to the summit of Kilimanjaro. One member worked for Brady India and had briefed his climbing partners about Summit4Water. Like us, they wanted to give something back to the people who made their climb possible. After seeing the water project in person, they committed to a very generous donation to help us toward our goal.
From there it was off to the airport after a week that we’ll remember forever. As always, thank you for your generous support that made this entire effort possible. With clean water flowing to the schools, we only need to get distribution points built throughout the village and the system will be complete. Please continue to check the website (www.summit4water.com) for some great photos of the water line, the village celebration and our trip into the bush.
Allan Klotsche – Chief, Maturo Clan of the Meru Tribe Dave Schroeder – Chief, Maturo Clan of the Meru Tribe