The lesson in perseverance

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How my family discovered the precious water in our garden after the generations of living on a dry land.

It’s summer, it’s raining, it’s England… and I can not help but dream of hot summer days, breezy evenings, huge mountains, and our family retreat home in the little village of Bori, in Georgia.

If there is such a thing as an organic living, we had it all. We ate what we grew… ok what my grandmother grew in the vegetable garden… eggs came from real chickens, that ate nothing but grass all day, fruit came from the orchard, grapes from the vineyard, herbs from the garden.

The life was good, but the water had been scarce, because of that the rain water was precious, it would be collected in clean water tanks, it would then used to do the washing, bath… ok quickly take a DIY shower with buckets of water… using rain water had it’s benefits… if you wash your hair with the rain water and rinse it off with a water mixed with vinegar, it will give your hair the silkiest look and feel no other shampoo could give.

As for the drinking water, it came from the stream, which was located about 100 meters from our home, in the centre of the village.

It’s too hot during the day, so as the sun settles beyond the mountains, and the first breeze of air starts to move the leaves in between the trees, everyone, young, old and able to walk, would gather the buckets, terracotta jugs and head over to the stream. What you need to know is that the walk to the stream is not an easy walk in the park, the road is uneven, filled with stones which make the walk back with the water buckets even more challenging. The water itself is more like a trickle coming out from a single hose pipe, rather than a power water tap. It is particularly slow to collect water after the hot summer day as the water pressure goes from slow to slower…  The line of the people waiting to collect water would be long and the wait even longer. But the time spent around the stream also used to be the social hour, after the villagers milked the cows, looked after the cattle, that hour by the stream offered a welcome break for everyone. Women and men of the village would connect, chat, laugh and tell stories. As a child, it was always fun to be around those people.

One summer my family started questioning why we did not have water running in our gardens… if there was water stream 100 meters down the road, there must be a possibility to have water inside our gardens. After all, the rain in Georgia falls often, the area is surrounded by endless trees, greenery, and the mountains. The question was why no one in the village had running water in their back gardens?

My uncle is a geologist, that particular summer he brought his team of geologists in the village, with the state of the art (OK it looked like state of the art in the 90s) industrial equipment and started to dig deeper, literally, in search of water. They dug one hole deep into the soil, there was nothing but hard clay, they dug the second hole, the same, nothing but the clay came out with the digger, and so they dug 5 massive holes around the garden. There seemed to be nothing that could be done, instead of water, all we managed to dig out was the clay soil so thick that you could not even mold a terracotta pot out of it.

Heartbroken and unable to find water everyone reluctantly gave up… almost accepting that there would be no water in our garden.

A year had passed, and the desire to have running water in our garden was too big of a hope to give up, and so we asked the uncle to come back and to try again… he brought back his men and the equipment and came back to our village in search of water.

That time my aunt started to “feel” the earth, then she asked to try and dig the hole exactly 5 meters next to the originally dug holes that had nothing but clay. Now it is worth mentioning that my aunt was not a city dweller, she was very much connected to the land. So she intuitively knew what specialists could not know. Workers wanted to try digging in entirely different location, but my aunt persisted. Unconvinced, workers hit the ground where my aunty Izo, pointed out, and there we had it, as soon as the digger hit the ground, the water burst out of the mother earth, it was more than water, it was clearer than crystal, colder than cold, fresher than fresh.

The joy was overwhelming…

Having the well inside our garden meant more than having water. It meant local community members could also have water in their garden. It also meant we could have running water through the taps in the kitchen, and in the bathroom, which meant more self-sufficiency without having to sacrifice the modern comforts. Today, it is not just our family who uses the well and the water that comes out of the mother earth, but other members of our village community too.

Today, as I remembered the story of uncovering the water in our garden, I feel grateful for the lessons learnt in the perseverance. Sometimes we could be digging deeper in search of our “next thing” in life, whatever that might be, wealth, career, even relationship… But just remember, when it feels like you’ve worked so hard and not much is happening and that you are about to give up, be mindful, that what you are searching for might be just 5 meters away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to pause, take a breath, and use the intuitive power that we all have inside us to guide us to our own waters.

Tamara Forrest-Smith

Observations and the lessons learnt from life
Altrincham, July 2017

P.S. The image above is taken in our garden, a villager collecting water from our well for his family.  

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