We climbed out of our trucks where the road ended and then walked along the footpath up to where the village of Kicuzi began. About half-way up the hill, we could hear the drums. And then the voices. “Mizi, Mizi, Agande Mizi!” “Water Water, thank you for Water!”
The celebration and excitement in the air was palpable. But before we could begin the Tap Stand ceremony in Kucuzi, we had to first travel to the clean water Source. It was important to the community that we all witness where the project had originated from. Another ascent up the hill, drums and singing went ahead of us. We visited the humble beginnings, exchanged words of gratitude, before heading down to commission to the very first tap stand in this village.
After we went to the Source, the ceremonial ribbon cutting commenced, which seems to transcend cultures. It’s an odd thing (a privilege but an odd one) to be able to “commission” a water system like this. It wasn’t me out here in the hot sun, digging for days to make clean water flow from the Source. It wasn’t me who negotiated with dozens of land owners to cut through their property to bring water across 20km of mountain-side communities.
It wasn’t me who spent weeks away from my family to live in camps. It was our staff, the hundreds of volunteers and leaders here who should be holding these scissors.
It was also you, our friends on this side of the Atlantic, who gave so generously who also should be holding these scissors. But the beauty of witnessing a day like this day was being able to see our collective small actions come together for one incredible impact.
And then came the dancing. They danced. The song leader began calling out a narrative through a barely working megaphone – about life before water and life after and the women dance with such beauty and joy in gratitude for this new gift.
Finally, the officials stopped talking, the ceremony wound down and the people could just drink. Safe, pure, accessible water: right from the tap.
Thank you for coming together to end water poverty in Kucuzi and giving this community a reason to dance.