We met with 29 members of a rural community to ask the question 'What would make your community a better place to live in?
This is a community that we had a bible college in 3 years ago. This has helped with rapport in the community. They have told us of the way the bible college helped the community in various ways.
We explained to the gathered members of the community that we were not here to do things for them but instead we were here to help them to do things for themselves.
The men told us of their need for a road into the community. Each year the log bridges they build get washed away, and the road is impassable for much of the year. We drove out during a good time of year and it took 45minutes to do 7km.
They also said they needed a health post, as the only way of getting to town is walking. Sick people and pregnant women have trouble walking to town. The Government has offered to train a community member and supply medications if the community can build the clinic building.
The women mentioned that they need wells for drinking water as they currently get water from the creek which is unclean.
The people asked for an orphanage due to the number of children without parents. We suggested that a better way may be for different people to volunteer to take some children into their homes and others to assist by helping to build bigger houses and providing school needs and food if required.
The community also wanted to fix their football field.
I asked the question 'Do you consider your standard of living as poor, wealthy or middle class?' These people live in mud and grass huts, have no form of transport nor electricity, they consider themselves as being middle class. They said we have food to eat and land to use.
The object is not the projects but the people, we are seeking to build vision and team work in the community so they gain the ability to resolve their own problems.
If one person says we can achieve that, it builds faith in others, if that person can convince others to work toward the vision much will be possible.
We are meeting with the community today in three separate groups. The men, the women and the youth, to see who has what as a priority.
The outcome will be choosing a project that the whole community can participate in, provide the materials for and complete. We will provide any training or expert advice required. This is where we may ask for your help. Let's see where this journey takes us!
After this first community meeting I met with the government representatives for this area. I let them know how our meeting went and the purpose of the community development. They were both pleased that we would do this and look forward to seeing the long term assistance it will provide.
How do you build a bridge? I have no idea but God will provide the right person at the right time to help us achieve this.