OK WATER PROJECT 10th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN SAKIR
On this beautiful Saturday morning Edwin Visi, consultant for the OK Project, had a full car including Kumbo Deputy Mayor Ibrahim, Mary Fidelis Mawo, Nina Glinski cnd, David Kiniila and a Kumbo radio programmer. We headed off with enthusiasm towards Sakir village. Our first destination was to the water catchment area some distance from the village over roads only the Cameroonians could imagine! Nearer our destination we were greeted by at least 15 motorcycles in procession. Their task for the day was to welcome and lead the guests of honor. The motorcycles attracted the attention of many people by the sides of road and we felt a warm welcome by all the people we passed on our way. At the catchment area we saw the fruits of the cooperative labor and the wonderful design of this particular project. The Kumbo mayor spoke and was especially grateful that so many local people were consulted and involved from beginning to end. He complimented OK Water for their team approach. I think I heard him say that this important undertaking “will live through the ages”!!
Soon we were on the move again toward the village and all who awaited us there. As we approached we saw hundreds of welcoming men, women and children. The school children were lined up and holding beautifully printed banners with sayings that brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy to be sure! One banner read: With OK Clean Water we are sure of our lives! The impact of accessible clean “water” struck me more than ever that day. All of the banners were so meaningful and were given to us later as a gift. This is the second celebration I have attended and I am amazed by the organization, preparation, creativity, and spirit of community that each has conveyed. In Canada we might say this celebration was “over the top”!
As I looked out over the community gathered that day it was noticeable that everyone was represented that could be. Village and religious leaders, women’s groups, people assisting OK Water project, the school children, a traditional dance group, all had come together in one great joyous unity. Many songs that were sung this day were originally created just for this occasion. We heard and saw, over and over, in song, dance and drama by youth and elders: Today is a happy day! We are glad to see you today! We are glad to welcome you! We are proud to have the water in our village. OK Water has changed our lives! A drama put on by a women’s group captured everyone’s attention. Two of the actresses portrayed key persons, Sister Cathy Molloy cnd and Mr Edwin Visi, who they wanted to thank for the gift of water in their village. This brought great laughter to all of us. Another very touching moment for me personally was when the village head asked us all to rise for a moment in silence to remember “our dear leader Sister Norma: whose spirit is here with us today!!! He promised the continued cooperation of the whole village into the future. The extraordinary traditional dancers were an unrepeatable highlight and made me think of our North American aboriginal dancers.
An invitation was extended to the people “to pay it forward” and a collection was taken up which would be used to assist other villages in their OK Water projects. Generosity is never lacking in the Cameroonian people as far as I can see! One of the speakers gave us this image: OK Water is an umbrella that has brought us together in a deep unity; we thank you for looking so far ahead. This project has involved EVERYONE and from today’s gathering we experienced firsthand the spirit of that deep unity. We were all brothers and sisters today!
The next day during Sunday liturgy the Reading from the Book of Revelation seemed to speak loudly after such a day of celebration. “They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the Lamb will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:17)
LONG LIVE THE OK CLEAN WATER PROJECT!!!
Nina Glinski cnd