The Ruaha River is a great blessing for the people of Iringa region of Tanzania, but it can be lethal if you need to cross it without a bridge in the rainy season!
Mafuluto is a remote village 70km from Iringa and lies on one bank of the river. Luganga, on the other side, has better services and good connections to Iringa town. So Mafuluto villagers often need to wade through the river to reach Luganga and Iringa. The village leadership of Mafuluto has asked Emmanuel International for help in building a footbridge across the river. In the last 10 years 7 people have been killed by crocodiles and hopes, 3 have been injured and permanently disabled, 10 people have died in the rushing waters and not found, and mor than 50 have been rescued from canoe accidents. The alternative to wading through the river is a 7hr trek to go round via the nearest river bridge.
Mafuluto village chairman Ekilia A. Manyesela says that “many times this river has been an obstacle preventing people from Mafuluto to trade and access services in nearby Luganga. It has been many times that the people of Luganga and Mafuluto have died by drowning or being caught by crocodiles and hippos when they try to cross to the other side of the river. They also need to cross over to attend family and social events which are very important in their culture.”
Emanuel International Tanzania in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Ruaha hope to complete building a footbridge across the river before December 2023 which is the start of the rainy season. The village will contribute what they can with labour and local materials.
The end result will be that lives are saved, and time and resources will be used effectively. The partnership between EI Tanzania and the local church will also become stronger.
The footbridge design below from Bridging the Gap Africa (BtGA) are providing the technical expertise to EI Tanzania for the duration of the project. You can read more about their organization here.