African Bridge

“The air was saturated with the finest flower of a silence so nourishing, so succulent…”
~Marcel Proust

I woke up a few minutes after 12 in a darkness that was impenetrable. I lay there listening but there was nothing to hear. Unable to sleep I groped for my head lamp and took up the book I had been reading and shortly came across the passage above which completely described my experience of a few minutes before.

After breakfast the team went to the secondary school to audit various classes. I was with Mr. Moto who gave a lesson on finding the surface area of a cylinder. In the next class he asked me if I would write the notes on the blackboard for the same lesson, which I did. When I was finished he said, “Continue with the lesson.” I continued and it was wonderful… the attentive students, the math, the class, all wonderful. I found it thrilling.

At lunch it became clear that each of us had had a rich experience at the school and were willing to return at any time upon request.

After lunch and a brief rest we were joined by Patrick for a tour of the water system under construction. Mohammed drove us over what Edward referred to as an “ African Bridge” which consisted of a number of logs laid side by side across a chasm. No rails, no steel, no support. All of that would not have been so bad had it not been that crossing the bridge required that each outside tire had to be on the crown of each outside log; no deviation, no disaster.

With Patrick, who had the vision and tenacity to push the water project to the construction phase, we saw the watershed and the reservoir which was nearly finished. From the reservoir we followed a trench that was prepared for the piping for perhaps 5 km to where it ended a little more than 1km away from its eventual destination.

Along the way we enjoyed the beautiful African landscape which included groves of pine trees that had been planted to encourage rain fall water conservation. Eventually we reached the end of the trench and where we found Mohammed and the Land Rover. Another rollicking death defying trip across the AfricanBridge and we were all but home again.

At the mission house we had coffee outdoors with Patrick and discussed dental braces, mascara and the Pommern water project. Later Spencer and other boys played soccer with the younger kids as the adults rested in the elegant evening light.

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