The Rev. Suzanne Gorhau, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Centerville, went to Malawi, Africa last fall for a four week mission trip from Sept. 13-Oct. 11. She will be giving a presentation on her trip Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Centerville. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Gorhau went to Africa with Marion Medical Mission, an organization that puts shallow wells in rural villages in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, Africa. In 1990, the first year MMM installed wells, they put in 13 wells. This year they put in 2,999 wells. MMM sends two groups of approximately 20 people each year to install wells. Volunteers pay for their own tickets, room and board and immunizations. All money donated to the group for wells goes to well construction. Nothing is used for administrative costs.
Each well costs $400 and provides water for an average of 150 people. The villages do the work they can, digging the hole, gathering sand and stone and making the bricks. An experienced builder builds the well, and then the volunteers from America, like Gorhau, come and bring the pipe and the pump to install.
Gorhau said the pump systems are maintained by locals who are trained to fix them and given spare parts. The group has also recently been able to begin manufacturing the pipes and pumps used in the projects in Malawi.
During this trip Gorhau said she worked almost every day for three weeks, installing 8-12 wells a day, driving a stick-shift vehicle in backcountry Africa. She was able to help install 141 wells personally.
Gorhau had previously been on trips in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and has served on the organization’s board since then, and has felt the need to go back for a while. She said that since she had to be gone so long from her church, the trip has been scheduled for about two years.