Tanzania Water Project Leader Dies in Dar es Salaam

Tanzania Water Project Leader Dies in Dar es Salaam

May 19, 2020

The man who brought life giving water to over 50,000 people through the Tanzania Water Well Project dies in Dar es Salaam.

We were saddened this month to hear of the death of Mahimbo Mkumbukwa. Mr. Mahimbo was the leader of the drilling crew for the Tanzania Water Project in which so many of you have been involved over the years.   Sean Kennedy sent word this week that Mahimbo had died of blood cancer, most likely leukemia. We are still in the States and had planned to begin drilling water wells as soon as the country opens up and we can get back home to Neema Village. We are sad that we will not get to drill a well with Mr. Mahimbo. We were looking forward to that. Mahimbo came to Neema Village a couple of times and got to see the babies. He visited with Michael in the office and I took this picture of him then.

Sean Kennedy Writes:  “Mahimbo was a devout Christian, strong believer, and great advocate for helping those in the greatest need, regardless of their religious affiliation, by providing clean and free water to villages throughout Eastern and Northern Tanzania. He joined the Tanzania Water Project in February of 2015. Under his Well Team leadership, the TWP drilled 33 wells, located from an area surrounding Dar es Salaam all the way up toward Mount Kilimanjaro and Arusha. His wells served an estimated 50,000 people. His extensive professional knowledge in hydrology, geology and drilling techniques made for an incredibly successful track record in a region where water well drilling is high risk and fails regularly: 28 of the 33 wells drilled were productive and successful, an 81% success rate. He ends his TWP mission on 9-consecutive successful wells run, and had an 11-consecutive successful well run previously. The ripple effect of his work is impossible to estimate, hard to grasp. Each well provided safe drinking water, instantly and dramatically improving village health. Women whose daily task was to walk 2 to 5 miles to collect water instead began to stay home and care for their family. Crops could be grown and nourished where before that was impossible. The benefits go on and on, the reach even more so. As part of the transition of the TWP to Neema Village, which was formalized late last year, Mahimbo sent these closing thoughts to the parishioners of Christ Church. Originally contained in the Annual Report submitted for TWP in January, it is all the more meaningful now as he has joined the saints.”

Mahimbo Mkumbukwa wrote before his death: “I wish to thank the Almighty God for the Blessings to all of us for the work done so far, that He leads you to raise funds and mobilize tools and personnel to facilitate the project work, that thousands of people now are having clean water through this blessed work. God bless. We thank the board members of TWP for sustaining the project to date. We thank the donors; may the Almighty God bless you for your generosity. We thank the Church, Christ Episcopal, for initiating this project of giving clean water to our people. We know for sure that it is through this congregation for God, the Project was initiated. As Jesus loves us all, you also love our people, that you give them a gift of life, clean water. God bless you all. We would like assure you that we will proceed with the work, as we’ll be blessed. We pray God that you continue to raise funds so that we work for the people, to give them clean water. We hope through God this will be possible. God bless. We are so lucky that everything will be victorious in the Name of our Lord Jesus.”

Memorials sent for Mr. Mahimbo will go toward the first well to be drilled in the village where one of the Neema babies lost his mom in childbirth. We have remained in close contact with this Maasai family, pictured above, and are always struck with the arid land around the village. Many of our volunteers love to visit Joshua’s village. It has been our dream for many years to give water to this village. Please pray for the success of this first well. To send a memorial gift go to www.neemavillage.org and on the donate page on the purpose line write “Tanzania Water Well Project”.

I think Mr. Mahimbo would love this.

All By God’s Abundant Grace,

Michael and Dorris Fortson

Directors of Neema Village and the Tanzania Water Project