Like the baobab tree

The Baobab tree is one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. They aren’t as tall as you think they would be for their reputed age but the trunk is often the size of a Buick. Many are said to date back to the time of Jesus and there are some marvelous folk stories about their size and how they are a great comfort to the people.

One of the stories is about how they came about. Some say God gave the task of planting trees to the animals. The job of planting the Baobab fell to the monkeys. Of course, monkeys being monkeys, they spent their time playing and when the deadline God had set was nearly upon them, the monkeys set about planting the trees furiously. The problem was that in their haste the monkeys planted the trees upside down. That’s why they are relatively short but have an enormous and extensive root system.

Well the upside down tree is a lot like much of the work Canadian Lutherans are supporting in Mozambique. Some of the most important activities are not very visible or obvious but have an enormous impact on the well being of countless thousands of people CLWR serves. A perfect example of that principle can be found in the village of Chipape in the Chifunde district of Tete province.

Properly constructed latrines are an important part of the health and well-being of any community.

Latrines are not particularly glamorous but the result of effective and efficient latrines is the removal of one of the main sources of contaminants for well water. And it doesn’t stop there. Residents are trained in best practices in other forms of personal hygiene and the result is a much healthier community.

Everyone is familiar with the typical CLWR sponsored well, with a simple mechanical pump and completely sealed to prevent ground water seeping into the well. Now villages are constructing walls around it to make sure animals don’t come into contact with the well surfaces or water vessels.

These are small items but they show how people are making the most use of the gifts they have been given and applying common sense to making their communities cleaner and safer.

Like the Baobab tree, some of the most important work is not obvious.

Tom Brook

Director, Community Relations

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