So here it was. This was the day that I finally left Ekumdipe. This of course was a bittersweet moment for me. I had grown very fond of the people we were working for, but also I found myself longing for some of the basic things of life that you get used to as an American (a toilet, warm bath water, and electricity, etc). The tallying for the surveys was finally completed and the information was ready to be analyzed at a later date. The team of ten was properly assembled and energized. They now knew how the pumps would work, and more importantly, they were aware their responsibilities. There was not much for me left to do. All that was left was to wait for the dry-season to come in and unfortunately that will take place in October when I am far away.
With this portion of Phase 1 completed, I made my rounds to most of the members of the community and said my farewells. All of them gave thanks and many of them told me to thank the Americans and to tell them to continue to think of them and to continue to help this town. I assured them that if they did their part, they could count on us doing ours. I was happy to hear even members of the community that were not initially chosen to be in the first group of 10 speak words of encouragement and hear them mention how they would stay on top of those selected to make sure they represent Ekumdipe well in the project. Finally, the “bus” came around and I waved goodbye one last time. Of course, there was a general understanding that this was not a goodbye and more of a good luck and see you later. RISE was not created with a one-time August work session in mind; this is a sustainability project with a long term vision. Phase 1 is officially on its feet and underway and I’m very excited to see how the people of Ekumdipe rise to the occasion in the coming months.