Water is essential to overcoming hunger, poverty and disease, yet worldwide, more than one billion people still lack access to clean, safe drinking water. Five million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases - double the number of deaths caused by AIDS. Some 60% of all infant mortality is linked to infectious and parasitic diseases, most of them water-related.
One of GRA's most ambitious Programs
In December 2003, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the years 2005 - 2015 to be the International Decade for Action, "Water for Life" - an international drive to bring safe water and basic sanitation to communities around the world. The goal set by the UN Millennium Project is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
...and they said it couldn't be done!
Employing remarkable perseverance, GRA has successfully located and drilled 105 (AND COUNTING) ABUNDANTLY-FLOWING, WELL WATER BORE HOLES, servicing Africa's Tanzanian villagers, schools, public and private organizations, and various government institutions.
Children carrying water from Lake Victoria
GRA has responded to the call by initiating a bold and unconventional water resource development project called "Maji Mengi" (Abundant Water). In 2008, we imported a new DeepRock drilling rig, Atlas Copco air compressor and used vehicles from the UK to drill boreholes for rural communities, schools, health centers and churches utilizing theories developed by the late Stephan Riess, of Ojai, CA. Our volunteer project consultant, Pal Pauer, is a protégée of Riess with over thirty years experience locating and tapping the abundant, clean water found in fractured primary rock.
Water expert, Paul Pauer, pointing out rock fissures that transport water.
A single borehole typically serves about 300 people and costs under $9,000, including a top quality, Dutch-made hand pump. At $30 per person for a lifetime of clean, safe water, the cost is significantly less than what villagers pay for the wood or charcoal needed to boil contaminated water formerly collected from up to 5 miles away. To take the risk out this sizable investment, GRA guarantees that the boreholes we drill yield enough high quality water to justify the installation of a hand pump - or the village pays nothing.
Completing a borehole is only the start of the process. No matter how good, or how abundant the water is at any particular borehole, if the pump is broken, it’s of no use at all. Africa is awash with broken pumps – rendering nearly 60,000 boreholes useless. GRA works closely with communities to help organize water user committees to establish policies related to governance, distribution and pump maintenance and then follow up every six months – or thereabouts – to ascertain the status of each borehole. If needed, our crew is available to fix broken pumps – free for the first year - and for a reasonable fee after that.
Primary water theory states that water is created within the Earth's interior and travels toward the surface via fissures and fractures in primary rock. This water represents new additions to the standard hydrological cycle. It can be accessed by drilling into bedrock, often at depths of just 100 to 300 feet. Also referred to as new, juvenile, magmatic or earth-generated water, mention of primary water can be found in modern literature, although it is not generally recognized as significant by the hydrological community. Accordingly, it's potential to ameliorate the world's growing water crisis remains largely unrealized.
Evidence of primary water comes from a variety of sources. Natural springs, for instance, can be found throughout the world that have been producing thousands of gallons of pure, fresh water per minute continuously since biblical times. Many of these, like the Fountain of Apollo in Libya and the Ain Feigh in Syria, have seeded civilizations. Others, like giant springs of Florida, are merely wonders of nature.
In addition to these naturally occurring springs, primary water is often encountered accidentally when tunneling through rock for mines, roadways or waterways - even at high elevations, far above any drainage basin. The famous Comstock silver mine on the Eastern slope of Mt. Davidson near Nevada City, for example, pumped over 5 million gallons a day out of flooded mineshafts until the pumps failed and the mine was closed in 1886. In the 1950's water was struck tunneling through the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara that flowed at over 13 million gallons a day. Construction was halted until the gushing fissure could be sealed.
Many castles in Europe, built hundreds of years ago on high rocky promontories, have wells hand hewn in solid rock that have been producing fresh, pure water for centuries. More recently, in the past ten years, exploration projects in Sudan, Somalia and the West Indies islands of Trinidad and Tobago have successfully tapped the abundant water locked in fractured bedrock. By defying conventional hydrological wisdom, an innovative engineering company was able to obtain yields of up to 50 times that estimated by the "experts", at a fraction of the cost of other alternatives.
We believe that natural, affordable, locally grown herbs and trees provide an important, and often overlooked, solution to the many health challenges facing residents of Tanzania's Lake Victoria region. Our main efforts in this area have been promoting the use of a variety of herbal remedies, including neem and Moringa oleifera.
During the last years we have developed our own herbal department at the GRA-Tanzania office in Musoma town. The GRA-TZ hebal department is composed of a certified herbalist, trainers and members of the staff specialized in production of the herbal remedies that are sold at markets and at the GRA-TZ office, as well as given for free in training settings and to groups with special needs like orphans, elderly, very poor populations, etc.
Moringa oleifera, a fast growing, drought resistant local tree, is said by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine to prevent over 300 diseases. The leaves of the Moringa tree also have extraordinary nutritional value - 7 times the Vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the Calcium of milk, 4 times the Vitamin A of carrots, 3 times the Potassium of bananas and twice the protein of yogurt. They make a perfect and economical supplement to the diet of people in the region that both strengthens the body and prevents many common diseases.
Harvesting moringa leaves
Because of Moringa's amazing health benefits, GRA subsidizes its purchase for the daily use by hundreds of orphans in the programs we fund.
Moringa seeds are also well known for their ability to purify water. Most people in the area don't have access to clean water, and can't afford charcoal to boil water from polluted sources before drinking it. Typhoid fever, cholera, and parasitic infections are the all too familiar consequences. GRA has funded several programs by local non-profits that include instruction in the use of Moringa seeds for water purification.
In natural medicine, the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica) is recognized as an effective treatment for many diseases. The first records of its use date from about 4,500 years ago. And although Neem has been used in India for thousands of years, this natural treatment was not introduced to the Western world until recently. The uses of Neem are many and varied - crop protection, insect repellent, treatment of various skin disorders as well as systemic bacterial, viral and fungal infections and for the prevention and treatment of malaria, among others.
Neem tree seedling
In 2005, GRA introduced a homeopathic neem tincture in the Lake Victoria region that was originally developed by the Abha Light Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya for the prevention and cure of malaria. This homeopathic remedy is an ethanol based tincture carrying the medicinal properties of neem leaves. The tincture is easily produced, and a six-month supply for one individual in Tanzania costs only about 40 cents US.
Healthy mother with baby
GRA has been producing and promoting the use of Neem drops in the Mara region as well as distributed for free to participants in the orphans’ programs. Preliminary data suggests that the Neem tincture is highly effective for malaria prevention, as well as in treating patients with chronic malaria.
Malaria is the number one health challenge for people living in the Lake Victoria Region of Tanzania. According to UN estimates, one child in Africa dies every 30 seconds from malaria. It accounts for one in five childhood deaths. GRA is responding to this crisis by promoting and subsidizing the use of a homeopathic neem tincture and mosquito bed nets to prevent malaria, as well as the use of Master Mineral Supplement (MMS) to treat malaria.
In natural medicine, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is recognized as an effective treatment for many diseases. The first records of its use date from about 4,500 years ago. And although neem has been used in India for thousands of years, this natural treatment was not introduced to the Western world until recently. The uses of neem are many and varied - crop protection, insect repellent, treatment of various skin disorders as well as systemic bacterial, viral and fungal infections and for the prevention and treatment of malaria, among others.
Musa John receiving homeopathic neem drops
In 2005, GRA introduced a homeopathic neem tincture in the Lake Victoria region that was originally developed by the Abha Light Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya for the prevention and cure of chronic malaria. This homeopathic remedy is an ethanol based tincture carrying the medicinal properties of neem leaves. The tincture is easily produced, and a six-month supply for one individual in Tanzania costs only about 70 cents US.
GRA is training small groups to produce the homeopathic neem tincture to offer for sale within their communities. GRA is also entering into a one-year trial research study on the effectiveness of using neem drops and mosquito nets independently and combined. We are working with the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza, Tanzania and one of their senior researchers, Dr. Mashauri, as well as Dr. Makuke from Musoma. Preliminary data suggests that the neem tincture is highly effective for malaria prevention, as well as in treating patients with chronic malaria.
Most malaria carrying mosquitoes bite at night, making mosquito bed nets especially important in the prevention of the disease. Sleeping under a mosquito net is one of the most effective ways to prevent infection, yet only a small percentage - some estimates as low as 1% - of the children in Africa sleep under mosquito bed nets.
Mosquito Bed Net in Action
GRA has subsidized and donated over 5,000 nets to families living in Musoma and Kinesi Village. Since two to three people generally sleep under the same mosquito net, the total number of individuals benefiting is considerably higher. GRA will continue to raise funds to address the challenge of malaria far into the future.
MMS is a mineral supplement developed by Jim Humble. MMS can be used to treat any disease caused by bacteria, viruses, mold, yeast, parasites or any other pathogen. Jim Humble and many others have been using MMS to treat people living with hepatitis, herpes, food poisoning, infected gums, eye infections, burns, Lyme disease, the flu, bronchitis, some types of cancers and many other conditions with amazing results. More than 75,000 cases of malaria have been treated by Jim Humble or people he has trained. Treatment for one person costs only a few cents.
MMS is sodium chlorite, a highly alkaline mineral compound, that has been activated with citric acid, fresh lemon juice or vinegar to release chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is a well-known water purifier, a germicidal gas when used externally, a mineral supplement, and a detoxifying agent when used internally. It kills pathogens and cleans meat, fish and other foods. Chlorine dioxide gas (generated by MMS) destroys all kinds of bacteria, viruses, parasites, mold, yeast, and blood-borne diseases, and oxidizes them while doing no harm to normal, living human cells. Chlorine dioxide also neutralizes poisons and heavy metals in the body. When oxidized, these poisons are neutralized and merely wash out of the body. The American Society of Analytical Chemists said in 1999 that chlorine dioxide is the most powerful pathogen killer that exists.
Testing blood for malaria parasites
GRA was introduced to MMS in 2008 by director Tara Blasco, who was using MMS herself to treat food poisoning while on field missions in Tanzania. Encouraged by Jim Humble’s extensive experience and research, as well as her own positive experience with MMS, Tara began collaborating with Dr. Makuke from Musoma, GRA’s herbalist, Godfrey Nyarutila, and Mr. Bugozi, an elder from a very remote village outside Musoma, to begin offering MMS for free to malaria patients with limited access to treatment. Everyone agreed that since MMS had no dangerous side effects for the prescribed dosage, it was worth exploring its potential as the affordable, accessible and effective means of malaria treatment currently absent from their communities.
After several months of trials, Tara met with her collaborators to get a report on their results using MMS. Although the data was purely anecdotal, each collaborator independently experienced good results for the majority of malaria patients they treated and were able to follow up with. For example, Mr. Bugozi, the elder, treated two children ages fifteen and five with severe malaria cases (a blood test was done before using MMS) that didn’t have access to medication, and after only 18 hours of treatment with only MMS, they had both recovered, and their blood showed no sign of the parasite.
GRA's pursuit of sustainable technologies, focused in the rural Tanzanian village of Kinesi, is still in its infancy. Included under this heading are future projects in solar energy, wind energy, fuel efficient stoves and compressed earth block construction.
From GRA's First Video Series - ABUNDANT LIVING
In early 2006, we completed our first sustainable housing project using compressed earth block. Bricks are generally manufactured in Kinesi Village by forming blocks from soil high in clay content and then firing them for 24 hours in large, outdoor, mud-covered stacks. The resulting bricks are irregular, brittle and generally have to be carried, usually on one's head or the back of a bicycle, a considerable distance from the firing site to the construction site. Worse yet, the process exacerbates the already severe problem of deforestation and diminishes air quality in the village.
Agnes's new compressed earth block home along side her former dwelling
We heard about a motorized compressed earth block machine manufactured by a South African company called HydraForm. It was advertised to produce about 1,000 interlocking bricks per day that could be stacked without mortar for the first 12 to 15 courses, saving a considerable amount of time and money in the construction of a dwelling. We decided to build an experimental house using these bricks and donate it to someone in the village. Fortunately, we were able to rent a HydraForm machine from Madaraka Nyerere, youngest son of Tanzania's founding father, Julius Nyerere.
UVIMAKI Rural Development Association, one of our local partners, chose a woman named Agnes to receive the donated home. She is over 70 years and was living at the time with two AIDS orphans of primary school age in a one room, mud and stick home. The older boy, Sheban, fishes in Lake Victoria, and sells whatever fish is left over after satisfying the nutritional needs of the household. On a good month, the family may earn a mere seven or eight dollars.
Interlocking compressed earth blocks
Agnes was overjoyed upon completion of the house which ended up costing a total of just under $3,500. While the final product was quite acceptable, we decided that a manual earth block press was more appropriate for the area, considering the high initial cost of the HydraForm equipment and ongoing expense for fuel, maintenance and transport - not to mention the noise pollution and air pollution that accompanies its use.