What’s so special about Moonlight Day & Boarding School in Zirobwe, UG? In many ways it is just another example of a typical rainwater harvesting installation at a local school in rural Uganda – handmade brick building, iron sheeted roof and beautiful brown children smiling at us from inside simple classrooms. But, for the Ugandan Water Project, this site is anything but typical.
Located about 50km north of Kampala, the village of Zirobwe takes only a little over an hour to reach by car. Typical of Ugandan communities, the village has only a short strip of red dirt road lined with simple brick and metal shops selling things like paraffin oil, sugar, beans and of course airtime for cell phones (most often purchased in 5 and 10 cent increments). The local population is on foot with an occasional motorcycle taxi or van packed with passengers bound for one place or another all at once.
Moonlight is bigger than it’s first impression. The small building on the roadside doesn’t seem to be able to handle more than 70 students but our pre-site report says there are more than 400. The plot is long and narrow and behind the first is a second and a third block of classrooms and an open schoolyard with a large plastic rain cistern tank resting patiently on a cement pad- waiting to be fed from the gutters on the roof. This unassuming school is the site of Rainwater Tank 50. As neighboring families tend to chores in the nearby yards and a little toddler with no pants scratches at the packed clay soil with a stick, I think back on all of the schools and churches where we have helped bring water in the last three years and I am humbled at this milestone. When we first visited Tank #1 in August 2008 did we realize the potential … Or the true need? Humbling. Exciting. Sobering.
There’s more to Moonlight. Looking at the school name painted on the building there is another critical detail – a crescent moon and star. This is a Muslim school. What excites us more than the fact that this is our 50th project, is the fact that we have placed this important resource at this Muslim school. There are 2 Christian teachers here and a small handful of students who worship Jesus and it is they that brought us here. We have chosen to make a bold expression of Christ’s love by bringing clean water to these precious people.
Speaking with Sinaan, the religion teacher, who handles classes in both Islam and Christianity, I explain that it is the love of Christ that compels us to help his students be healthier. I see a mixed expression on his face which I can only guess at its interpretation. Perhaps he is trying to reconcile the typical polarity of our two faiths with this tangible expression of love given to his school …. I can’t know for sure but I do know this: At Moonlight . . . The Son is rising.