Thursday, October 6, 2016

October 1, 2016 - Jeanne is just like Hillary Clinton?

A most interesting day. We attended an opening celebration for two 10,000 liter Milla Tanks the Church supplied to the the Bellair Community (in two different parts of the community). It was not well attended by the community, which was a surprise. However, the political leaders were there plus the contractors, workers, the press, some community members, President Clawson, Don (all men) and me. They began the program with a prayer and they asked Don to say it. Then all the political leaders spoke and then they asked Don to Speak. He explained to the people that the members of the church all over the world sacrifice to contribute to the humanitarian fund and this is where we get the funds to help them. He told them they are looking at him, but there are thousands of people standing behind him. He said more than that and it was a very nice speech. After Don spoke, they asked me if I had anything to say. They only asked out of respect. Now keep in mind, women here are considered lower class and are typically not included. However, during the meeting many men and 3 women showed up and were standing behind all the previously mentioned men. When they asked me if I had anything to say, I politely said "yes". I parted the men and went back and hugged the 3 women. I didn't hear what one of them said, but Don told me later when I hugged her she said giddily "just like Hiliary Clinton". REALLY? Then still with my arms around two of the women I spoke to the men about the women, young girls and children being the ones to fetch water and this will help them. I talked about all of us being children of God and helping each other. I don't remember what I said but it was appropriate and it elevated the women. The interesting thing was I had a microphone in my face being held by a reporter. That was a first for me. Don told me later "you stole the show today". I did not know what he was talking about. He said the shining moment of the whole ceremony was when I hugged those 3 women and involved them. I did not plan to do that. I only knew that the women were being left out and they are the ones who do all the fetching, cooking, cleaning, etc. to provide for their families.

 After the whole thing was over there began to be a huge argument. Many men were yelling and screaming at each other and they were all talking at the same time. I kept hearing the word 1,000. The political leaders were yelling at the community men and the community men were yelling at the political leaders. It was getting very heated and I truly thought there was going to be a brawl. Don stood up on the Milla Tank Platform and called everyone to order. When they all shut up, he explained that it was he who demanded from the political leaders they charge "small, small" for a jerry can of water (40 lbs.). The leaders came up with the price of 1,000 leones ($.14). The community thought that was too much to ask. Don explained that if they want to continue to have clean drinking water then they would have to refill the tank. The only way that was going to happen was if they collected a little money for each jerry can. By the time he explained why we are doing what we are doing, they were very understanding. Plus Don put all the blame on himself and took it off of the political leaders. Don is the one with the "purse" and they were not going to fight with him. This is the first time we have tried this water approach. The community leaders are determined to bring clean drinking water to their community and will fight for it. That is exactly how this approach will succeed.

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