Village Meeting with Tshapasha (and an MIA Tshibvumo)
Sunday June 6
We have been trying to arrange a village meeting with both Tshapasha and Tshibvumo so that we all can explain our projects to the villagers, meet the local water committees, and get a general sense of how the community perceives our projects.
We have had trouble actually getting the people from Tshibvumo to show up at the meeting, due to several miscommunications, but arranging the meeting in Tshapasha was much easier. We all gathered around a large tree in the village and sat on benches made out of wooden posts as a man struck a large piece of metal hanging from the tree with a mallet to call villagers to the meeting.
After a significant number of community members had gathered, we began the meeting with a prayer. Garrick, Nisha, and Jim subsequently took turns explaining the three separate WHIL projects and then introduced us and the UNIVEN students to the community. In general, the listeners seemed positive about the project and whispered excitedly back and forth. One Venda woman sitting next to me kept whispering in my ear about how happy she was we had chosen to work in her community and how much she enjoyed meeting foreigners. We did see some frustration, however, when one member of the water committee stood up to tell us how people in the village complained, but their words never actually reached the water committee. He also felt that the project was not moving fast enough. Garrick quickly made it clear that this would be a long, frustrating process, at times, and that we had to work together to meet the goals we had set out to accomplish in the beginning. We are hoping that the message board we construct will help to ease some of the tension and frustration in the village and within the water committee.