After meeting with the Chief and Elders of Kagbal last Wednesday, we decided upon a community meeting for the following Friday. From practice and words of advice, we were expecting a relaxed version of our Chief’s meeting; we planned for a larger audience that included the women of the village. However, as we sat outside in an open space shaded by trees, more and more people gathered around us. First, 10 kids surrounded our bench, then 15, 20, 25, and more. Each one stared at us with wide eyes that almost looked scared until you cracked a smile. Only then did they realize: Oh! They’re not monsters! Once the kids had gathered, women started bringing chairs, benches, and more kids to the circle. At this point, the chief and elders we had met with prior, had taken their spot as well. As we prepared to begin the presentation, the scene around us was truly inspiring.
To see that many people in one space, ready to listen to your idea, and ready for a change in their lifestyle is incredible. The numerous colors of scarves, smocks, and smiles made us realize just how big of an impact this project would have. What made the setting even more exciting was the level of acceptance the people of Kagbal had for us from the start; from backing babies to snapping selfies, we could not have felt more at home in such a foreign place. Of course, once the meeting began, the chaos of side conversations, goats bleating, and crying babies ensued, but that only made our connection with the community more real. Elders, men, and women asked logical and important questions throughout the conversation that made it easy to see their concern for making the right choice when partnering with CWS. It may seem like a no-brainier when deciding whether or not you should drink clean water, so it came as a surprise to us to have the village take their time when thinking through this opportunity. From their questions, concerns, and ideas, though, it is clear that the people of Kagbal work together in everything they do… And what is Community Water Solutions without that sense of community? At the end of it all, Kagbal agreed to work with CWS and we can’t wait to get started!!
– Lexie, Maggie, Evan, Kelly-Ann, and Eric