Villagers Build Their Own Bridge

A heart warming story from Zambia tells us a lot about the way gifts from Britain are matched by sheer hard work on the part of the villagers.

The Nyenyezi community is divided by the Luampesa river - villagers on one side need to cross to reach the clinic and the school, and those on the other side need to cross to reach the market.  The river bed is only fifteen feet wide in the dry season, but to cross it, ox-carts have to be unloaded, goods carried across manually, and the carts reloaded on the other side.  In the wet season, the river widens, and crossing becomes out of the question.

In Britain, a bridge would cost tens of thousands of pounds.  For this village, the United Reformed Church of Taunton donated £460, which paid for some old railway lines and concrete.  All summer long, men and women of the village worked together to move tons of earth by hand to build up the roadway on each side where it would rise to meet the bridge.  Then the rails were laid over and filled in with concrete.  It held, and for the first time in living memory, people can cross to the river in the rainy season.