The famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau said, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” It’s a true saying in that life as we know it cannot exist without water.
In the United States we can tend to take water for granted. We are accustomed to the ease of twisting that little silver lever at the sink or in the shower anytime desire. We don’t give much thought to the sprinklers and hoses that allow us to water plants and gardens. It’s hard for us to imagine, but for the majority of people in the world, these are not norms, they are luxuries.
Malawi’s climate is in some ways, much like that of Southern California. For a majority of the country, the rains come in late December and are done by the end of April. While Malawi has sunshine most of the year, it is these rains, and the water they bring, that define the growing season. Other water is accessible, especially near Lake Malawi where Y-Malawi is working. This lake feeds lagoons and ponds that seldom go dry.
The challenge is getting the water from the lagoons to the fields. In the past, anyone who wanted to grow more than one crop per year needed to water their field by dipping a watering can into the lagoon. Then, carry that one to three gallons of moisture to their thirsty plants. Quite a chore if you are trying to grow an acre of life-giving food during the hot sunny summer months.
But what if that same sun could be harnessed to provide the water? This month Y-Malawi has purchased and is testing several solar water pumps. These units can be moved from field to field, towed at the rear of a bicycle. They use solar power and a floating pump to lift water out of the lagoons and into the fields. The first Chiefs groups have now been trained on their use. For the first time people have been able to plant a second crop. So far, this equipment is proving to be an incredible resource. There is excitement in these communities that more food may be available this year during the hunger season.
Cousteau was right. Water and life are connected. While only God can give life, having access to water can certainly make a substantial difference for those who don’t have it. Thank you to those who gave special gifts to make this new project possible. You are truly making a lifegiving, lifechanging difference.