It’s been a glorious day here in Cambridge today – and I went on a Geological walk with the Friends of the Sedgwick museum. From the wonders of Wandlebury Ring to the old flint church in Linton, to a water tower … built in 1934 which now stores some 400 cubic metres of water and serves the surrounding villages – remember that figure.

I got home, achy feet but very happy with a smattering of freckles and a red nose from a day in the sunshine and found a whole wodge of email correspondence from Brian Donaldson, the Chairman of the Grants Committee for the Kitchen Table Charities Trust (and Founder and Patron of the Madagascar Development Fund – MDF). The emails were full of the story and photos of the Inauguration of the Ambohibato Water Project…. their new water tank holds some 2 cubic metres and is fed from a natural spring above the village. The access to this fresh water will radically transform the health and the prosperity of both the community and the individuals that live there. The project was made possible by the generosity of four individuals who raised the necessary £1,700 – yup that’s all – only £1,700. Shocking to think that people pay that for a fancy washing machine or oven in the UK… The Inauguration took place on Tuesday 20th April in a tiny village called Ambohibato some two and half hours bumpy dust road drive North East of Antananarvio the capital city of Madagascar. The photos and many of the words below are taken from Brian’s emails today.

Ambohibato village

This picture shows the village with the mud hut belonging to a young woman Esther – in the foreground.  6 feet by 4 feet – with no furniture – just a raffia mat on the floor and a couple of enamel saucepans – her only possessions. Esther’s husband abandoned her when he learned she was pregnant.

Esther outside her home in August 2009

She now lives in this thatched,  mud house on an income of 4 pounds a month – earned by doing odd jobs for the better off in the village and selling eucalyptus leaves at the nearest market,  a two hour walk away.

The Ambohibato project involved building a two cubic metre concrete collection tank adjacent to a spring emerging from the hillside 850 metres above the village of Ambohibato,  and running pipes down to the hillside to two stand-pipes -one in the “playground” of the primary school;  the other adjacent to the nearby village.  The villagers supplied all the locally available materials,  including rocks,  sand and gravel,  and were responsible for digging the trench where the pipes now lie. The money needed for this project  (£1,700) was raised by two brothers,  Simon and Mirko Kamann,  who ran last year’s Berlin Marathon and raised sponsorship among friends and family,  and a donation by Peter Coe and his wife Julie Walters,  of Tudor Reilly,  a corporate communications agency focused on health care www.tudor-reilly.com.

Copyright © 2010 Ellie Stoneley and Brian Donaldson