The Mdzangwini community is located on the outskirts of the Mbabane city in Swaziland. It is a small community that shares the same blessings as the rest of the country i.e. there are mountains everywhere. As geography would have it, mountains are a common source of water. That is why when we had our first meeting on Saturday of my arrival we agreed as a community that the water sources will be located on the mountains with two water sources.
Photo: Showing one of the trenches for the pipes to go through and the landscape of Mdzangwini
The first meeting we had was very successful. I introduced the project and highlighted that it was from Macalester College. Then I laid out what I had initially proposed would be the way that the project will work throughout time I’ll be at Mdzangwini. Therefore, we set out to separate people who showed up at the working sites to be separated into two groups; one working at the source and the other working at digging up the trenches for the main line. A couple of community members pointed out during the meeting that there had to be money set aside by the families involved in the project as maintenance fee. This was to help with the keeping up of the project and making it sustainable. A joining fee of E50 ($5) was set and a monthly payment of E20 ($2). Then it was agreed that work would start the following day, Sunday.
Photo: Showing some of the community people of Mdzangwini at the first water source preparing for the building of the dam.
Usually it is said that the first day is the hardest day, both in terms of people showing up and coordinating everything. Well, a lot of people were amazed by the turnout on the first day of work. More than 25 people showed up to work and we managed to work more than our target goal for that whole week. We divided the people into the two groups as decided in the meeting. We worked a total of 4 hours.
Photo: Showing digging of a trench
After the first week of work I realized that this project is a learning experience for me. I’ve often heard people saying that a leader leads by example. This was evident for me when we set the time to start working to be 7am. If I am late then the people would also not take the time seriously. It is not an easy task leading people because not everybody is always agreeing with what is being proposed. On the first day of work some people were complaining about the division of labour, that is, some people were using picks, some spades and shovels and some slashers.
Photo: Showing more digging of trench
Photo: Showing building of the first water source
Photo: Showing community members using picks and spades to dig trench