Monday, 27 April 2015

Would you like to buy a bio-sand filter?  It might be a tempting offer, they are very effective at cleaning water, but I think carrying a 1.5m concrete tube might just be a problem with my plane weight allowance!

Benjamin is trying to sell me one.  His smiling youthful enthusiasm is pretty persuasive.  He leads a micro-business making and selling these filters and walks the talk by using one at home.  It's a great example of the dynamism of youth and making the most of local resources (they break up the stones for the concrete themselves).  The income generated from the sale of filters, combined with reduced medical costs from fewer diseases, helps Benjamin to provide school fees for his three brothers.

His pastor, Paul Ngwa, is a gentle faced man wearing a great Hawaiian shirt.  He spotted Benjamin's potential and put this 25 year old man in charge of the church and community transformation work.  It was a wise judgement call. By the grace of God and with Benjamin's leadership, this work has already resulted in 10,000 bricks being made and sold, new fields being cultivated, 15 new pit latrines built to improve sanitation, widows and orphans being cared for and dramatically improved relationships.  All without relying on outside help.  Others have wanted to know more so there's been phenomenal growth in their church (from 300 to 1,000 people in just 3 years).  

Young people in Africa (and beyond) aren't usually given such responsibility.  I think it's about time we started to take a few more risks on young women and men like Benjamin.


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