Without exception we have found the Tonga people to be gentle, generous, and grateful for our efforts. As greetings are an act carrying great import in any Tonga interaction, the four of us from BGC have all learned the basic greetings of mwabuka buti (good morning), mwayusa buti (good afternoon), kwasiya buti (good evening), twalumba (thank you), and a few others. Any greeting is usually accompanied by a right hand over the heart, and a gentle and silent clapping of cupped hands
Today we explored for water in a very difficult to reach village, Kanconje. Of our four vehicles, only the very high clearance Landrover - Defender safari vehicle carrying our equipment could reach the village. Our entourage of Canadian geoscientists and Zambian students walked the final two kilometers.
The only sources of water for Kanconje are a few hand dug scoop holes in the sandy, dry river bed about 500 m from the primary school. We located a few very promising drilling targets on fluvial terraces rising a few meters above the ephemeral river.
The SAM Project, funded by Geoscientists Without Borders, is planning to drill the site in September. We are expecting, or at least hoping the well will yield sufficient water as it will be hydraulically connected to the saturated, sub-river bottom sands, and quickly recharged when the rains return in November. At least in theory.
Around 4:00 PM we marched up the hillside from the river bed to the primary school where the Land Rover was waiting to carry out our equipment. Even with our large numbers, hauling electronics, cables, car batteries, and hundreds of steel electrodes up the hill was exhausting. Our Zambian water engineer Henry Lungu had told us the half-truth that the villagers had prepared maize nshima in gratitude. The rest of the story, though, was a fantastic feast of goat meat, chicken, and a rich gravy.