The Rift Valley of western Kenya is a sight you wish everybody could see (although the one-hour bone-shaking ride into the southern end of the valley is something you would not wish on your worst enemy). Out of the valley rises 1,500-foot mountains, like ancient sentinels keeping guard over an ancient people, the Pokot.
A million Pokot live in this valley, with villages spreading out for 100 miles. With sufficient water, this fertile valley thrives, and without, people suffer. These nomadic people seek water, and when a water source is reliable and local, a village springs up. But, the vast distances mean that large shared solar-powered water systems are not logistically practical or economically feasible.
A hand pump per village is the only answer. But which pump? And how do you know if it is working? The installation of SonSetLink™ remote monitors became a part of answering that second question.
Four days in the valley and seven installations earlier this year were the opportunity of a lifetime, traveling with Pokot Outreach Ministries, who have succeeded in changing a generation with water and the gospel of peace. A change for good. Communities own the pump and form a committee to take care of it, including payment for repairs when needed – a key for sustainability.
About 30 miles east we worked on another pump, and met Monica. She valued the reliable water source enough to relocate her family and build a new home. She excitedly showed us how to build a home. We eagerly watched, and felt privileged to help her – and a thousand others that we will never meet – through water security.
Here, everything starts with water; homes, health, churches, free time for education, healthy animals and growing food to eat. Camels on a soccer field added a fun diversion to this rich experience, seeing first-hand how water can change a community, and the lives of those in the Rift Valley.
Written by Stephen Peacock