by Marleen New, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
A recurring theme on our trip to Zambia, I’ve found, is how such simple ideas, built from inexpensive and everyday items, can make a world of difference.
The local Bemba phrase “Lelo Bwacha” when translated literally means “dawn” or “morning,” but in Zambia, it is used to describe an awakening, or “Our eyes have been opened” and “We didn’t know such simple things could change a life.” We heard this over and over, time and again, and it certainly seemed to resonate with what we were seeing and experiencing.
Zambian project participant showing how the Tippy-Tap system works.
Consider the Tippy-Tap. As mentioned in the previous post
, having a hand-washing facility convenient and close by the latrine improves hygiene.
Simple Tippy-Tap method
In its simplest form, this could be achieved by providing a plastic jug filled with water. If you drill a small hole close to the bottom of the jug and plug the hole with a stick, you don’t even have to touch the jug to wash your hands. Just remove the twig, wash your hands under the running water and stick the twig back in to stop the flow. Simple.
The Tippy-Tap takes this idea a step further and completely removes the necessity of handling the container. The jug is suspended by a rope slung over a branch, which is then tied to a stick on the ground. Stepping on the stick tilts the jug so water can flow to wash your hands. It’s hard to explain but the pictures can demonstrate much better than words.
Considering the incredibly high rate of water-borne diseases, (60 percent of our targeted community members have experienced diarrhea at least once in the last three months) this alone could make a big difference.
Today we visited some families that I had met nine months ago when I came with Elanco staff to see what was then a future project area. During that visit, we met a family that had begun to build a barn—just in case they were selected to receive animals once the project began. Imagine building an entire barn, just in the slim chance you might receive an animal. We decided the phrase “The Audacity of Hope” applied quite well to this farmer! When we returned today we found the barn completed, as well as a bigger, stronger, more impressive barn right next to it. I asked why the second barn and was told — since the barn was built before any Heifer training had taken place– the knowledge and expertise needed to construct a facility strong enough to hold a 500-pound animal hadn’t been utilized. No worries, the farmer told us, he would just use his first structure for storage and smaller animals that he planned to purchase one day. But he was mighty proud of his new one. We could only imagine the hard work required to build it. It was amazingly strong and built using only his hands—no machinery—and not one nail!
Lelo Bwacha indeed!
Tomorrow we participate in the next handover ceremony of 42 draft cattle to 20 more families!