News Story

What Happens when a group of Maasais and LDS Missionaries meet?

Sister Linda Knecht, a Senior LDS Missionary, serving with her husband in Tanzania, narrates how they joined other LDS missionaries in Arusha to lay water pipes and bring clean water to a Maasai Community in Kitembeni village. This clean water project will affect over 100 people's lives.

Kitembeni village is about 100 kilometers from Arusha and is home to the Maasai ethnic group. The residents of this village have to walk to a water source sometimes for over two hours, on paths through bushes and over hills, to collect a bucket or two of water and then return to their homes. Many times the watering place would be dry and they would return with no water at all. The cattle are also herded all day toward watering places.

Elder and Sister Mathers, who are residents of Australia, saw this need and contacted Hearts Foundation, an Australian organization which donated funds to purchase 5.7 kilometers of water pipes and other watering implements. Once the equipment had been purchased, they were helped by Elder and Sister Gotcher, Elder and Sister Knecht, Elias Sungua and Kitembeni community members to dig trenches and lay pipes to the project. This was done in a record three days.

Elder Mathers led the implementation of this project. He’s a man who has seen many miracles in his lifetime. He lost a leg about 20 years ago, making a wooden gun for his grandson. He was born in Uganda, went to school in Kenya, and farmed a huge estate in Tanzania before relocating to Australia. He speaks fluent Swahili which gives him an advantage to make this kind of project work. His dream of returning to Tanzania and helping the people has come true! This project is an example of LDS Missionaries and Church members contributing to the communities in which they live.

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