Sojourn in Africa A three week trip to Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, Africa as a volunteer with Marion Medical Mission Shallow Well Program by Richard W Bittle, Mairon IL

Setting the scene would be impossible, as is the story and the results of
the mission, without mentioning two individuals who reside in Marion Illinois. Tom and Jocelyn Logan, entrepreneurs and business partners, who, along with other missionaries, envisioned providing a shallow well program to provide a sanitary source of clean water to rural villages in Malawi,Tanznia and Zambia, on the continent of Africa, whose only source of water previous to the construction of a shallow well in their village was a distant water hole or a source utilized not only by human beings but animals simaltaneously. Not a healthy environment in which to obtain the one ingredient, clean water, which without, survival is questionable, to those who are without.
The following is the story of one volunteer and his observations as to the 21 day trip to sojourn in Africa.


“The Impossible Dream”
That dream became the possible, an act of heroism displayed by Tom and Jocelyn Logan and their teams of volunteers from all over the United States of America, each and every September and October since 1990 or thereabouts. Their “grasp always exceeds the reach” philosophy, as they carry out their missions, including a school for the deaf, Embangweni, as well as other assorted institution of education to which they assist economically, spiritually, and physically, with dollars from donors,provided to build schoolrooms, teacher housing, libraries, etc., for educational purposes on all levels of instruction.
Tom and Jocelyn have dedicated their lives to serve those who can least help themselves financially, but are eager to provide their labors. The natives of rural Africa who lack the infrastructure of water and sewerage facilities, as well as electricity, improved roads and many other resources that we take for granted in our country.
Based in Embangweni and Mzuzu, central and northern Malawi, respectively,they spread their sphere of influence and assistance to neighboring Tanzania and Zambia.
Over 2 million rural Africans have been provided with an operating, shallow well for their main source of “Cool Clear Water” to paraphrase a popular song from the 1950’s since 1990.That is 24 years of service to those in need.
Malawi, formerly Nyasa, under the British influence, is the poorest, per capital income country in Africa, though in my opinion their riches are untold in matters non material.Quietude,visual, spiritual and physical aspects of life are abundant in non measurable quantities.
My main concern is that we do not attempt to “westernize” these countries and I fear that threshold has perhaps been breached due to the influx of Cell Towers and Cell phones, hanging from the neck of the native African’s. The crack in the armor , perhaps?
It is 2008 and I am writing in my journal of my once in a lifetime journey to Africa, perhaps due to my age if nothing else. I lost a total of 50 pounds in getting in shape for this journey, and I did that by riding a bike for 8 to 12 miles daily in the months preceding, building up my physical strength. It has now been 17 years, (1991 to 2008) since my open heart surgery at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.In those intervening years, I have often prayed for the Lord to guide me in the direction that I should go, and I feel that this is what the Lord wanted me to do, and provided me with the opportunity to continue my life, when perhaps I should never have continued, after experiencing a “Full Arrest” in 1991. Flat Lined …Code Blue…However the Lord was “holding me in the palm of his hands” as I experienced that while in the hospital for tests of my cardiac situation advised and admitted by Dr.Potter, my family doctor, in Carbondale Illinois, to Memorial Hospital in that city.
From 5 am until I awoke at 8 am or thereabouts, I was being recusitated by the hospital staff and Dr. Munroe, who upon my gaining consciousness, adivsed me and my anxious wife, that I had experienced a “miracle”, in his words.
(It is now 2014 and I am 75 years of age and enjoying life to the fullest extent.)
The Marion Mission Teams (2) spend 6 weeks in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. Each team of 20 volunteers who are responsible for their own expenses of the trip, spend 3 weeks in Africa assisting the villagers and dedicating each well as completed to the “Glory of God”, which is inscribed on each well head prior to the drying of the cement. “Uchiami Qui Chiuta”.

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