September, 2017

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Four chairs are standing under the mango tree when we park the car in the middle of the village. Rik and his Jacana men are coming today to sensitize the villagers about the water pump project. It is 9:30, time to start the meeting. Nobody is there, except for two chickens scratching under the tree. The village doesn’t know that we are also there, two friends of Rik and Dinie, on holiday.

four chairs and a chicken

We are invited to go with Rik into the field. We know Rik and Dinie from Ghana, where we both worked and lived. Since that time we visit them regularly and enjoy their work enviroment in Africa. Today, Rik will give some information about “Water for Zambia” project.  For this he brought four men, all Zambians: Pious, Rik’s right hand, who leads the meeting and explains everything in the local language and two welders and one driller, men from the field. They are trained by Jacana and have already drilled several boreholes and made and installed pumps, ready to answer the questions from the villagers with their expertise and experience.

 The Chief from the area first wants to talk to us. One of his headmen leads us the way to his house. The most important man from the area sits on a small veranda in front of his house. We sit down at his feet on a mat. He is a very nice amiable man. After the necessary greeting rituals Rik explains that Jacana will partly sponsor 10 pumps. Who are eligible for this? These ones with the best business plan. The plan that is successful and feasible. The villagers will be invited to present their business plans after one week. The chief tells us that he is also a gardener, but unfortunately he cannot be present to discuss his business plan. With a joke and a crush, he knows to reserve a pump for himself.

 We say goodbye to the Chief. The meeting can start. We come back at the mango tree. In addition to the 4 chairs, 2 stools are placed. The full Jacana team can take place. There are some men under the mango tree. A tree further down seems to be the women tree, some women have gathered there. The chickens are nowhere to be seen.Jacana has taken an example pump. The pump is in a large bin with water. Later everybody gets the opportunity to try the pump.

Rik opens the meeting in English, but soon gives the word to Pious who continues in the local language. Pious invites everyone to sit closer; also the group of women from under the women's tree. There is now a group of about 40 people and 1 bike.

Since the presentation is in the local language, I cannot follow anything, but I can see that people are interested. They nod and laugh. There are many questions that Pious regularly involves the welder and driller. The contact is made between the welders, driller and villagers. Should you be interested in a pump but you do not qualify for the subsidized pump, you can immediately do business with the local driller / welder without the intervention of Jacana. Short lines. Business cards are exchanged. 

While Pious invites the people to present their business plan at 8:00, next week, the 2 chicks are passing, jumping on the water tank and drink from the sample pump. Pious asks people to repeat what time they are invited: when a choir sounds: "eight hours".

The meeting is finished. The people are allowed to try the pump. Approvingly they turn the handle and I see in a number of eyes the business plan already ripening.






With thanks to Marjon Bakker who wrote this beautiful story.


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