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  • Writer's pictureJason Townsell

Unity Through Adversity

Things are tough in Nigeria right now. As I stated in my last blog, inflation is at record highs. For example, when I first visited Nigeria in 2017, the exchange rate was 1 USD for 350 Nigerian Naira; as of my most recent visit (this past week), the exchange rate was 1 USD for 957 Nigerian Naira. Obviously, this is very problematic and has sent reverberations throughout the economy. One of those areas is fuel costs, which have hit an all-time high. This has impacted clean water use in several communities we serve, as the pumps used to retrieve water at our borehole locations are diesel-powered generators, meaning it has now become significantly more expensive to operate the water pumps. 


The increased cost of running the water pumps has resulted in some communities reverting to previous methods of accessing water: water that is often unsanitary and unsafe to drink. I recently visited a few of our projects and left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was delighted with the progress regarding improved health and optimized hope; however, I was somewhat taken aback and disappointed by what I perceived to be a lack of cooperation amongst community members in navigating the newfound adversity related to the increased cost of pumping water. Some were determined to work together to share the fuel cost needed to run the generator. In contrast, others abandoned community efforts to power the generator and went on their own to gather water.


As a management team, we recognize this as an impediment to progress made in these communities and are committed to drafting plans to overcome this challenge. These plans include:


  1. Heightening education on the dangers of consuming or bathing with unsanitary water and the vital nature of only using water from sanitary sources.

  2. Introducing community campaigns for navigating volatile economic circumstances while ensuring pumps continue to run efficiently.

  3. Developing project plans to retrofit some pumps to be manually operated rather than generator-operated. 


Adversity often divides people rather than bringing them together


Navigating adversity demands essential factors such as partner consistency, dependable teammates, and uniformity of resolve; however, it is much more common for those facing adverse conditions to depend on themselves rather than their partners. An instinct that leads to division and can lead to defeat. 


There is an African Proverb that says, "if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together" (I wrote about this proverb in a previous post) that embodies the value of sticking together. There is truth to the concept that there is power in numbers and that we are better together. 


As we continue to endeavor the winds of change, we will remain focused on navigating those winds together and on teaching and guiding those we have the honor of serving to do the same.


JT





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