I arrived in Malawi earlier today with a team from Bidvest and Harrison Catering to visit and get involved in the water projects we help to fund through the sale of One Water.
I’ve been at One for nearly a year now and I’ve always been passionate about our brand, our cause and what we do everyday. Over this time I’ve tweeted, posted, blogged, written newsletters, created websites and shared various stories, updates and messages about One and our projects (using the photographs and films from previous trips, regular stats and updates from The One Foundation and stories from my colleagues who have been on trips themselves). Even though I’ve only been in Malawi for just over six hours now, I’ve already been able to experience, first-hand, the very real and almost overwhelming impact our water projects have on whole communities. These projects transform lives!
This afternoon we visited a rural community to fix a borehole water pump. This pump had been installed several years ago by a different organisation. Even though they helped to give water to the locals at the time they did not unfortunately, invest in the sustainability of the project (community training, water boards, maintenance and repairs etc like our projects). As a result, the pump has been broken and out of use for over six years now. What shocked me the most about this was the “well’ (pictured below) that this whole community had been collecting water from since the pump broke.
This well, or hole in the ground, was full of dirty, brown water. As I looked around the site, I saw piles of goat and cattle faeces and instantly felt sick and saddened that anyone would have to drink water like this, let alone children and young babies.
Ten minutes and one new washer into the repair later, the pump started to spurt clean, safe water again. I felt incredible seeing it burst into life and couldn’t stop smiling as the local community stood around the pump singing with joy and thanking us for what we had done (watch this video to experience this incredible moment). In juxtaposition to the joy I was feeling, I also felt really sad that having clean water, a basic human right, seemed like such a luxury to many of these people. It only took a small investment of time and money to do this, and now that we’ve trained the locals how to maintain and repair the pump – this community should have clean water forever.
It’s amazing to think that this has all happened thanks to a little bottled water brand and their incredible supporters like Bidvest and Harrison Catering. I can’t wait to see what happens on our second day in Malawi tomorrow. If you have a spare minute this week, search for #OneInMalawi on Twitter to follow our live updates from the trip. I bet that you’ll find it as hard I as do not to smile at some of the heart-warming pictures and videos.