The Promise of Renewal: Ariane's Upcoming Visit

As we began our new school year this past week, it was a great joy to greet returning students, usher in new students, and give warm welcomes to parents. My favorite part of the day is welcoming the children, moms and dads at the front gate, sharing a smile and a "Good Morning" with each person. Especially on the first day of school, you have the sense that most everyone feels rejuvenated after a summer away, ready to dive into the new school year with a renewed inspiration to connect with themselves, each other, the earth and the world.

(photo on right by Denis Gontero. Notice the mosque in background, constructed by local people once they had water.)

Luckily for the people in the Tangarwachane village in the Azawak of Niger, water is flowing and the facilities to retrieve the water are well-constructed and operational. I imagine for these people the sense of renewal comes every day when they turn on the faucet, remembering their previous 35 mile trek for water, and being thankful for the ease with which they can now drink clean fresh water.

This year, we want to kick off the Amman Imman fundraising initiative by schools and students with a fresh perspective. After all, an incredible milestone has been achieved by Ariane and the small group of dedicated individuals that made up Amman Imman's field team from March through July. The borehole at Tangarwachane is not only operational but it is also beautiful.

I spoke with Denis Gontero who supervised the final construction in the Azawak during June and July. He explained to me that the faucets used by people were intentionally set a certain distance from the animal troughs where goats, camels and donkeys drink, in order to encourage and preserve sanitation and health. This is a big change even from January 2007 when the borehole first began providing water after the initial construction. Since that time Amman Imman organized and executed improvements on the borehole and the facilities that included constructing a bigger cistern (water tower) that would meet the needs of 25,000 people and their animals, two well-constructed and sustainable faucet systems and the placement of four long troughs that hold water for animals. Also, the team initiated the Water Resource Management Committee, made up of local people (including women), who will maintain proper function, sanitation and hygiene, in conjunction with the Ministry of Hydraulics.

One of the four animal troughs, positioned away from where people get their water. photo by Denis Gontero

The completion of this final stage of construction was none too soon, for as you might have read in two June updates (Hope Found at Borehole Tangarwachane and Urgent Need: People traveling up to 12o miles for water), when Denis return to the Azawak in June to implement the improvements, thousands upon thousands of people and their animals were standing in line to get fresh water after traveling extremely long distances to reach this new water source. Now, that the refinements have been made, the borehole can accommodate large numbers of people and their animals who will certainly be depending on this borehole until more are constructed.

We have more good news: Ariane Kirtley will be traveling to the United States during the month of October to make presentations for Amman Imman, with the intention of raising funds for continued work in the region. With this backdrop of success from the first stage of the pilot project, we hope to attract attention as well as get substantial donations to continue the work.

Here's how you can help: Our goal for the month of October while Ariane is in the United States is to set her up with speaking engagements and individual contacts with schools, organizations and people who could help. The keyword is ACTION. Let's bring Amman Imman to a new level. We are looking for ready-audiences and beneficial contacts that could generate financial contributions, attract media attention, and provide hands-on help.

Also, if your school would like to organize an event that would garner the support of more schools and students for the project, please send me a message.
I feel personally rejuvenated by the accomplishments of the past year, from the partnership of students and Amman Imman's work. With Ariane's visit we have an opportunity to invigorate our momentum. We begin this year's campaign on a firm platform of success, and a confidence in bringing renewal to our students, the people of the Azawak, and anyone who hears about this project.


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