Today is a special day indeed! For those of you that have followed W2T for awhile, you probably have heard us refer to Robit sometime over the last 3+ years. Robit is a community of 6-7,000 that is about a two hour drive (in good weather) from Gondar. It is located on the banks of the Megech River, on the edge of a wide river flood plain that is often impassable because of rain or floods. About 3 years ago, Water to Thrive and our implementing partners, A Glimmer of Hope and Organization for the Redevelopment of Amhara (ORDA), set out to bring clean water to the entire village with a major deep borehole water project, including a large reservoir, almost 5 miles of pipeline and 8 water points to serve the community.
After many logistical and technical challenges along the way, we are headed today to celebrate the inauguration and completion of the Robit project. For a project of this magnitude, it takes a whole team, including the community, regional government, water administration, electrical authority and our implementing partners, so we are grateful for all who have contributed.
The rainy season has started early in Ethiopia this year. So, when our flight arrives from Addis in Gondar, we have to delay our departure to Robit because it rained in Robit last night. We eventually arrive in Robit about 12 noon, after some nifty driving by our expert drivers.
As we approach Robit, we are greeted by the scene above……about 2,000 primary and secondary students, as well many community members line our path into the village, all clapping and singing.
We are welcomed with many signs, including the one being held by the 7 year old in the picture above. “We are very much excited of getting clean and safe water!”. This message is conveyed to us not only by the signs, but also by the big smiles of everyone we encounter as they express their gratitude in word and action.
As we enter the village, we come to the first water point, shown above. We get to cut the ribbon to inaugurate the water project to clapping and singing from the community. There are seven more water points in the village, similar to the one above and we get to visit each one. Five of the water points are distributed throughout the community, additionally one serves the primary school, one serves the high school and one serves the health clinic.
After visiting the water points, we gather with the community under the tower supporting the reservoir, shown above. This water tower creates the water pressure to distribute the water to all the water point throughout the community. Here with the community elders and local leaders we share our gratitude for the blessing of clean water in Robit!
This picture has particular significance for the women of Robit. This is the wash basin in the delivery room of the health clinic, demonstrating the availability of clean safe water right in the delivery room. Prior to the completion of the water project, the women would have to bring the water needed during birth with them.
The clouds start to build in the afternoon, and we begin our journey back to Gondar about 2:30 pm to beat the rain. As we cross the river flood plain on our return, we can see dark rain clouds less than a mile away headed our direction. Literally, we were racing the rain to get out this treacherous area before the rain hits. We made it just fine, but did hit some rain before we made it to the hotel.
Although our visit was short, we were truly blessed today to able to share our time with the community of Robit. Clean water is flowing…..Hallelujah!
Tomorrow we fly back to Addis and catch our flight home tomorrow night. So, it might be several days before our next post to provide some wrap up comments about our trip…..stay tuned.