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Mountain Top - 04 February 2016
While high on Kilimanjaro in Barafu Camp last week I actually had a dream about the orphanage in Mabugini. I felt a bit like Martin Luther King when I awoke since Uhuru Peak, our destination, means Freedom in Kiswahili. My dream involved the need for establishing a reliable water source for those 40 children to avoid the long and difficult bicycle ride to and from the local Bore Hole. In my dream the children were getting ready to use the shower facility before getting ready for bed. This is a most improbable event because I do not believe that any of these kids have ever actually had access to a real shower. At the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre it took us many years to actually build a real shower facility. The typical ''shower'' here involves a bucket of water and some enclosed private space so that you can clean yourself to the best of your ability under these circumstances. Being able to stand under running water is a luxury that is taken for granted every day in most places in the world. So one might ask: ''Why can't such a thing be available to these children here?'' Well - it is complicated.
The first problem faced in Mabugini is the need for a Bore Hole so that water will be available in the quantity needed for daily needs. The next thing of course would be an actual shower facility to allow the showers to take place. This immediately brings us to another complication. We have no electricity!! Tanesco, the national electric provider, has promised the site to hook them into the grid. They even came several weeks ago to begin the work.. Their visit was short lived. The new buildings were not wired!! In typical construction style here, the walls were constructed without taking into account that wiring should be done before you actually seal everything. That means that all of the conduits and wiring must be created by breaking down some of the present wall structure and hooking it up to control circuits and fuse boxes. This might sound daunting, but this is how much construction is done here. For example - rather than place drains and pipes for plumbing, the usual style here is to pour concrete over rocks and then later sledge hammer out the areas needed for the pipes. I really was shocked the first time I witness this. And as I write this I can report that the wiring of the buildings got done last week while we were in Kenya. The group who climbed Kilimanjaro as a fund raising event authorized their money to go to this project and it was done while we were away last week.
The next question to be faced at the orphanage is where to place the shower? I have walked the grounds thinking about this and think that it should be located on the higher area of their sloping lot far from the toilets since that would allow the water to be collected to use for gardening. Having it flow out and down would work better than having to pump the fluid somewhere. I thought about placing it near the far left wall as you enter the grounds, but Pastor Simion likes the thought of it being more central. But currently the center of the orphanage is occupied by the cooking and storage facility. This means that the cooking site would have to be moved to another location which he had already selected. This concept would work fine since the present building for cooking looks as though it could be modified and adapted to be a first rate shower area.
So the summary of obstacles to my dream of allowing 40 children their first showers involves first getting a water source, establishing electricity on the grounds which required first wiring the buildings (Done!), moving the kitchen area to another place and then modifying that building to complete the dream. When you can break things down in this manner you can actually begin to see a light far in the future when all of this might be in the past. We discussed this with the team climbing on the mountain and they enthusiastically gave their support to using some of the money raised on their climb to start this work. That is how we were able to take the first steps in making this dream a reality. And if we continue to plug along and accomplish the tasks in front of us it will not be so very long before we can say: ''Clean at last. Clean at last. Thank Good Almighty we are clean at last!''