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|“What do you love about being a handpump mechanic?” I asked.|
We were sitting cross-legged on the floor of a bare office, each knee gently kissing our neighbor’s. A few of the men started the conversation, with each taking turns before passing to the person on their right.
“I have learned new job skills.”
“I’m earning more money.”
“Here, we have the proper tools to get the job done.”
“I like helping people,” said another.
As the procession of answers finally landed on Shelia, she uttered an unexpected and amazing response:“Because I am a mechanic, I fell in love.”
“WHAT?!” Screamed twenty mechanics (and two Americans) simultaneously.
“Because I am a mechanic, I fell in love,” Shelia repeated with a smile. “Years ago I learned how to fix a handpump, so I traveled to the next village to fix theirs. A man in that village saw me working and thought, ‘Look at that woman!’ He had never seen a woman fix a handpump before. He was impressed. So I did not have an arranged marriage. I had a love marriage.”
I watched Shelia’s face glow and cheeks blush as she recalled the memory.
Sadly, Shelia is now widowed, but it was her job that saved her. She was able to raise their son as a single mother and could afford to send him to school. He now has a good job and a family of his own.
The Adventure Project is excited to keep hearts pounding and water pumping this Valentine’s Day. Shelia and her team have fixed 304 wells in only two years. We want to help her fix the 4,000 that are broken in her district. Share this story and make a donation. Every $20 will help to expand the mechanic training program – bringing clean water to three more people in need.
To learn more go to: www.theadventureproject.org
The Adventure Project