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Saturday, September 29, 2018

$850,000 US for water??

Giving thanks for fresh water flowing
This week Project Canaan became “water secure”.  This is a REALLY BIG DEAL and may not make any sense to those of you who have access to water any time you turn on a tap or flush a toilet.  We don’t have that luxury (which you likely take for granted).  Let me explain – I know you will think this is really cool.

We don’t have a river on Project Canaan, so we have built three dams which are only filled by rain fall.  We have drilled down below dam #2 and we pump the water 1.7 KM/ 1 mile up 100 meters/yards to a holding tank. There it is goes through a filtration system and then flows back down the mountain to our homes, schools and to the front office. The tank is filled a couple of times each week.

There is no aquafer (body of water below the surface), and we have had many surveys done to look for water that we could source. We are completely dependent on rain water, and we have been in the worst drought in recorded history for the past few years. 

This is a bone-dry dam #1 where we gathered in August 2016 and prayed for safety as the bulldozer started up the mountain.
That lead us to the top of the mountain where we found seven natural springs.  Even during the drought the water flowed freely from the springs.  Once we knew there was water at the top of the mountain, then we had to find a company who could bring it down to the farm.  This was a MONSTER project at a cost of $850,000 US. 

Natural springs located 900+ meters/yards above the farm
I cannot tell you how much conflict this brought to our lives. There were people who just didn’t think we should be trying to raise that much money for “just” water.  It caused conflict on our Board, and with some donors. Of course, those people don’t have to worry about only showering every few days to save water or bathing 190+ children with no water.  But we were steadfast in our belief that the Lord created those natural springs and put them on this property for a reason – for us to never be without fresh water.  AND, if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill, and He would provide.

We secured the water rights with the government for two of the springs and started raising funds. First, we had to make SIX MILES (9.5 km) of roads up a mountain with our bulldozer.   Not an easy feat. Then all the materials (steel, concrete, piping) had to be taken up by tractor loads.  

The project was done in four stages:
1.     Build two weirs/dams at the top to redirect the water. You MUST watch the video  below of a guy taking one of hundreds of loads of wet concrete down a steep hill to build the weirs.
2.     Install 1.7 km (1 mile) of steel pipe above ground.
3.     Dig 7.8 km (4.8 miles) of trenching to bury the OPVC piping underground from the steel pipe down to connect to a 500,000L (110,000 gallon) holding tank.
4.     Dig more trenching to connect that tank to another holding tank of the same size behind the egg barns.

As we raised the funds for one phase, we would start that phase. The OPVC piping had to be ordered from Spain, so each order would take 6-8 weeks to receive, and then we could continue.  

Weirs being built

Chloe on weir #2
Each and every person who Ian has taken up the mountain to see the progress has been BLOWN away by the magnitude and scope of this engineering feat. No photo or video can possibly capture the complexity or scale of the project.

Two years later, the pipe was connected to the second holding tank, and on Thursday we became water secure! Once that holding tank fills up (which should take two days), the water will then be channeled down to fill dam #2 (remember, that’s where we get our drinking/bathing/cooking water), and when that is full it will overflow and fill the Living Water Dam (dam #3).  I should also mention that there is a T-junction in the piping so that the community of Gebeni can also tap in to the water once they have their piping secured. 

Easy eh?  Ha!

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my husband, Ian, for his tenacity, perseverance, passion and absolute faith that this project was the Lord’s will.  This project is like a “life’s work” and  generations to come will have water on Project Canaan because of his faith. 

Thank you to David Bryant for working tirelessly to raise the funds for this project and for never giving up.  Thank you to Tim Lambert and Chad Gregory for having our backs through this journey and for your commitment to water security. Thank you to each and every person who gave a large amount or a small amount or even bought a Water bracelet to have a part of this massive undertaking. 

Thank you Jesus for the gift of fresh water, and for being our living water. Because of you we will never thirst again.

Live from eSwatini … I am eternally thankful.


PS I loved this comment that someone wrote on my Facebook wall in response to our water photos: “I am partnering in prayer with you for ALL the ways that water symbolizes and releases life over your community.”  Amen.

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